Portsmouth readers rally to back homeless appeal

GENEROUS readers have been digging deep to support The News' winter campaign to help the area's homeless.

Saturday, 10th December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:28 pm
Lorraine Ham, 63, of Drayton who donated items to The News' homelessness campaign

People have been doing their bit by donating food, clothes and toiletries as part of the Show Them You Care This Christmas effort.

The plea, launched at the start of the week, has already got the backing of Tesco.

It comes as hundreds of people from across the Portsmouth area are facing waking up on Christmas Day homeless.

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Among those to join the effort included Drayton husband-and-wife Alan and Lorraine Ham.

The pair rifled through their cupboards and closets, donating dozens of items of clothing – with everything from warm coats and socks, to scarves, toiletries and jumpers being offered.

Presenting them at The News’ HQ in 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, retired Lorraine, 63, of Down End Road, said: ‘If you’re going to spread a little bit of kindness Christmas is the time to do it.

‘We’ve seen homeless people on the streets and it must be an awful time of year for them. It’s important not to just look at them and think, “Oh poor chap”. It’s important to get out there and actually do something.

‘We felt it was incredibly important to help in any way possible.’

Mrs Ham has seen the impact poverty can have on people during Christmas.

She used to work in the Job Centre, helping hundreds of people every year trying to find work.

Calling other readers to back the campaign, Mrs Ham added: ‘This is the toughest time of year for so many people.

‘I would say to people to be aware of their own happiness at this time of year and to try and share some of that happiness with those who desperately need it.’

Figures obtain by The News show there are almost 400 homeless people living in Portsmouth, while in Gosport, almost one in 200 residents don’t have a place to call home, leading it to be branded one of Britain’s worst ‘homelessness hotspots’ by charity Shelter.

In Fareham 229 people are homeless, with 69 reported by Shelter in the Havant borough and 120 in Chichester.

To donate to the campaign, visit The News office at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour.