Portchester homeless event asks for winter month donations

IN NEED As the cold sets in, help for the homeless is more crucial than ever
IN NEED As the cold sets in, help for the homeless is more crucial than ever
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A CHARITY event in aid of homelessness is hoping to raise awareness and pull in the vital donations needed as the winter months begin.

Sam Willis, 40, is organising the event at Portchester Community Centre after her father, who used to sleep rough, died from cancer earlier this year.

She said: ‘My dad spent time on the streets. I think once I lost him it triggered where I wanted to go with charity work.’

The event, which is expected to have a big turnout, will see donations being divided between two local charities – Portsmouth Help for the Homeless UK and Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank.

Forty-eight-year-old Sarah Knight, who runs the Portsmouth homeless charity said: ‘We take donations to the homeless twice a month and they know and trust us.

‘We have support from two councillors and many other organisations, and at present we are trying to raise funds to organise a Christmas meal.’

She added: ‘Sam is an amazing lady who has gone out of her way to help and we greatly appreciate the hard work she has put in for us and our street friends.’

Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank helps out more than 4,000 people in the area, including children.

Mrs Willis said: ‘It’s not just the people on the streets, people living in homes also can’t afford to eat.’

She added: ‘The community has been supportive and positive. People are rummaging through their wardrobes and some are even buying new clothes and gloves from the shops.

‘I’ve had one company say they would like to do it on a bigger scale and are donating tents, sleeping bags and flasks.’

Statistics show nearly 4,000 people sleep rough per night across England – double the figure from 2010.

The event, at Portchester Community Centre, will take place tomorrow from 9am until 4pm.

For more information, e-mail willissam@hotmail.co.uk.

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