Churches Homeless Action are once again running their ‘Comfort & Joy’ appeal in the run up to Christmas. Last year more than £15,000 was raised for those in need in Portsmouth.
The campaign invites the whole community to share some comfort and joy. This might be thinking about an elderly neighbour, someone on their own or a family that needs some seasonal joy. Is there someone who could benefit from a seasonal gift and a greetings card to show that people care?
You can also contribute to the campaign by donating a gift card, cash or cheque which will give the gift of choice to those who may not currently have many choices. For some of them this might enable them to choose a box of chocolates, a new toy or even essential food shopping.
If you’d like to make a donation of a gift card, cash or cheque (payable to St Mary’s Church), these can be sent to St Mary’s Vicarage, Fratton Road, Portsmouth, PO1 5PA or handed in at St Mary’s Church any morning between 9am – 12pm.
The deadline for donations is Saturday 18 December. Donations will then be passed onto charities to reach those most in need. Below you can read more about who the campaign will be supporting this year.
The vouchers would benefit our Two Saints Portsmouth services such as our adult services for example, Hope House, also our Young People’s services such as the Foyer, in addition to our mental health services in the city. The vouchers make a huge difference at Christmas to all our clients who receive them as give them the gift of choice and freedom to choose what to purchase based on their personal needs. This can be to meet their basis needs such as food and clothing or allows them to buy a loved one a gift at Christmas which they ordinarily may not be able to do.
Stop Domestic Abuse
Stop Domestic Abuse provide practical and emotional support to victims of domestic abuse living in Portsmouth, accommodating up to 21 women and 32 children in four refuges, and also support women, children, young people and men living in their own homes. We are also working with Portsmouth City Council and Two Saints to provide support to homeless women staying in respite rooms who have been victims of domestic abuse. In the last year we have supported over 400 women, children, young people and men affected by domestic abuse in Portsmouth.
Over the years thousands of families and vulnerable single people supported by the Roberts Centre have benefitted from the kindness of those who support the Churches Homeless Action Voucher scheme. Never in the 34 years of the Roberts Centres existence has the kindness and compassion of those who make the Voucher scheme a reality been more important. At different times we all need the help of others and in these challenging times there seem too many more people who would benefit from the kindness of others. The Roberts Centre has expanded our range of beneficiaries over the past year, across our 15 services we support well over 1000 families and households a year.
Catherine Booth House
Catherine Booth House is a residential Centre for 24 families with high support needs. The vouchers are shared between the families (amount dependent of number in family) helping the parents to ensure the children and indeed themselves, have the best possible Christmas.
Pre Covid we were supporting rough sleeping who were accessing the homeless day service, to have access to basic needs and necessities such as food, washing facilities as well as access to 1:1 support from support worker and potentially a night bed etc.
Since Covid, we had 3 additional services put in place which are tagged to the homeless day service these are a temporary accommodation provision. We are currently supporting homeless people who have been placed in the temporary accommodations we have 45 rooms at Kingsway, 41 rooms at The Registry, 19 Rooms at Elm Grove and around 30-35 rough sleepers as we still have a day service provision for people who are still rough sleeping.
The idea now is that we support clients to gain skills to move through the pathway and end up in more permanent accommodation.
We are open to all comers for a hot meal, some food to take away, hot and cold drinks, a haircut occasionally, and an opportunity to sit down and talk to people. We peak at about 60 guests (we average about 45-50) but at Christmas time we tend to get packed out.
Our guests change week by week, some we see only a few times, others have been coming to Sunday Suppers for a very long time.
Portsmouth Churches Housing
Portsmouth Churches Housing Association (PCHA) have three hostels. Two hostels support 24 young homeless families and one hostel supports 7 homeless single women.
Vouchers will support our guests who are rough sleeping, sleeping in unsuitable conditions, underhoused, recovering addicts and those with poor mental health and any combination thereof.
We aim to create an environment of compassion and care, where people feel they belong, are accepted; and where they can build a sense of self-worth and confidence – a place where we can be generous with our time, energy and practical resources; where we can go the extra mile.
Friends without Borders
Providing support to those who are asylum seekers and refugees in the area.
Hope into Action
Providing supported housing in our city.