Good cause helps 160 families in Portsmouth start a new life

Cllr Paul Godier, council leader Donna Jones, Sarah Knight and Brenda Towle ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (180502-6867)
Cllr Paul Godier, council leader Donna Jones, Sarah Knight and Brenda Towle ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (180502-6867)
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SOWN from the seeds of goodwill, an idea to help the city’s neediest residents to get a fresh start has snowballed for a team of dedicated volunteers.

Working non-stop for the past year, the group behind Moving On Project Portsmouth has helped 160 families begin a new life.

The scheme provides essential supplies, like furniture, bedding, kettles and toasters, to homeless people and needy families moving into new homes.

Now the trio of women who run the organisation have celebrated the Moving On Project reaching its first birthday.

Sarah Knight, who works with fellow volunteers Brenda Towle and Jan Bone, said she was stunned at how far the project had come.

‘It’s been an amazing year,’ she said. ‘Before I started this I ran Portsmouth Help The Homeless for a year-and-a-half.

‘But I felt like I was at a loose end. I wasn’t helping the homeless as much as I could have been because I wasn’t aware of all the services out there.

‘But there didn’t seem to be much to help people when they had moved on from being homeless, there was no help for them there.

‘That’s where this idea then came from.’

Initially working out of a small unit, the idea soon gained the backing of Portsmouth City Council.

The authority helped Sarah and her team open a new base of 14 units in Grafton Street, Buckland.

Sarah added: ‘The people we are helping have got nothing.

‘They might have just come off the street and want a fresh start.

‘We know that we can help them to start way on their new journey and that’s a really nice feeling to have.’

Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones praised the team for their dedication.

She said: ‘What they have achieved in 12 months is astonishing.

‘I am so proud as leader of Portsmouth City Council that I have been able to afford them the space to get furniture, bedding and other essential items to those residents who really need them.’

The group works by referral through various agencies and support organisations.

They are now looking for more volunteers to come forward and join the organisation.

To help, search ‘Moving On Project Portsmouth’ on Facebook.