TIME is a gift that can be given all year round – and could prove vital in saving a homeless person battling to survive life on the streets this winter.
That’s the message from the founders of a new organisation launched to help Portsmouth’s homeless residents, which is now appealing for fresh volunteers.
The plea comes in the wake of The News’ Show Them You Care This Christmas campaign, launched yesterday, which calls on readers to donate food, clothes, shopping vouchers and toiletries to the homeless.
Portsmouth Homeless Support is one of the many good causes offering a lifeline to some of the area’s most vulnerable people and is hoping to benefit from readers’ generosity this year.
Launched a few weeks ago, the group provides aid and supplies to those living on the streets, as well as a dedicated ‘rescue run’ service to help people in desperate need of urgent help.
Kyle Hadnett, 24, is one of the group’s trustees and said in the three weeks since his team began the ‘rescue runs’, they had been called out to 12 emergency situations across Portsmouth.
Kyle, who works in an A&E department as a clinical practitioner, said: ‘The average temperature in a home over winter is about 21C – last night it was -8C in Portsmouth. This is the type of dangers, life-threatening temperatures people are facing at this time of year.
‘The threat of hypothermia is very, very real for people living on the streets.’
His call comes amid a worrying warning from the group that the true scale of those living rough in the city could be far higher than official figures.
The latest count, last month, reported that 37 people were living rough, with hundreds more homeless.
But Kyle claims, based on his group’s own regular counts, the number could be as high as 60.
He added donating over Christmas would help the homeless – but he and his team are looking to provide a 365-day-a-year service to complement other support schemes on offer in the city.
To do this, he needs to bolster his team of 17 volunteers and five trustees.
‘Portsmouth has an incredibly generous spirit,’ he said.
‘So the more people we have as volunteers, the more rescue runs we can do and the more people we can help.’
The group is in the process of applying to become a registered charity and aims to expand its services to elsewhere in the south.’
To volunteer or for more details, visit the Portsmouth Homeless Support page on Facebook.