Help the homeless this Christmas

OFFICIAL FIGURES show that homelessness is on the rise in Southampton. The Office Of National Statistics show the number of people sleeping on the streets increased over the past two years. By Rebecca Edwards

Last years Christmas dinner at SSJ
Last years Christmas dinner at SSJ

The Society of St James (SSJ) is a Hampshire-based homelessness charity, providing accommodation and support for the homeless suffering from alcohol addictions, drug habits and mental health issues.

Sam Bax from the fundraising team at SSJ said,

“We currently support around 2,500 people, throughout Hampshire, who are facing homelessness.  Sadly, many of the people that we support can feel like no-one cares about them, particularly during the festive season, which is often seen as a time for getting together with friends and families; sharing food, gifts and laughter.”

Dee Russell the Corporate and Community Fundraiser explains SSJ have a Christmas ‘Give a Dinner’ appeal being launched.

“Give a Dinner invites you to donate £10 to give one Christmas dinner to one of the people we will be housing this season. Money raised over and above the £3500 target will be spent where the need is greatest. We are asking people to share using the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.”

SSJ believe in educating the public not to give money to beggars but donate to charities and local agencies, such as the SSJ. The council and other partners are also reviewing this proposal, which will also be encouraging for the homeless this Christmas.

Del, who lives in one of the residential projects, says,

“Christmas was brilliant and it’s really nice that people think of us! It was great to have a warm bed for a week and not be on the streets, and I was given some lovely warm clothing and a brand new hat and gloves.”

SSJ are also running a shoebox appeal, for anyone who feels they would like to make someone a small gift package and donations can be made by texting “MEAL22£10” to 70070.