[vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”7589″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”7590″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Your donations helped to make Christmas a lot brighter for more than 1,000 homeless people in schemes across England.
A member of support staff described Christmas at a homelessness hostel as ‘usually a sad affair.’
Many residents are not in contact with their families. Some have come from difficult backgrounds, care, or prison. Others have acute addictions or mental health issues. “Christmas is a very difficult time for them,” one staff member explained. “So we like to make it as nice as we possibly can.”
Support workers apply for funding to put up decorations, provide a communal Christmas meal, and give out small presents or gift cards. As one staff member put it, “Anything to make the festive period a little bit special as this can be a traumatic time.”
Another said: “This money will go a long way to giving as normal Christmas as possible in difficult circumstances.”
Providing activities encourages residents to socialise at what can be a very lonely time. It’s something to look forward to; most would otherwise not celebrate the festive season at all. Meals and get togethers provide the opportunity to be part of something positive, and creates a warm, cohesive atmosphere at a time of the year that can be hard on their emotional and mental health.
Different schemes have people of different ages and from different backgrounds. With many in receipt of benefits and living below the poverty line, a voucher or practical item is not only useful. A thoughtful gift will also raise spirits, and provide a rare opportunity for a little luxury.
One scheme gave residents a Christmas stocking that included a handmade mug, hot chocolate, toiletries, and a hat, scarf, and gloves. For some, it was the only gift they received.
Two residents commented:
“It was a pleasant surprise to discover that we were going to have a Christmas Dinner this year. The food was excellently prepared and cooked by staff and some residents. It gave us an opportunity to meet new tenants in a relaxed and social atmosphere. I found the event most enjoyable.” John
“It was really nice meeting everyone and sharing a meal with them. Also, those who were not able to attend the meal had the food delivered to them. It was also nice that everyone was given a Christmas card with a £10 gift voucher in it.” Anthony[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]