Seasonal kindness helps save the day

Swindon Advertiser: Stuart Wilson takes a cup of tea from volunteer Sarah Williams Stuart Wilson takes a cup of tea from volunteer Sarah Williams

CHRISTMAS Care had the most successful year yet after Swindon residents rallied to save the day in the nick of time following an appeal in the Adver.

The homeless shelter, which supports up to 70 people who are homeless or on low incomes over the festive period from December 24 to December 28, was facing Christmas being cancelled after an all time low in food donations.

But an appeal in the Adver only a week before the shelter in Queen’s Drive Methodist Church in Park South opened saw hundreds of individuals, businesses and organisations help to fill the bare cupboards.

Chairman of Christmas Care, Patsy Moloney, said: “It’s been the best year ever. Everybody behaved themselves and was polite and they have been helping out as well.

“Some of them have said that Christmas Care is a five star hotel compared to other shelters they have been too.

“Some other shelters have asked for about £20 per head for the same thing, and if Christmas Care can offer what it does for nothing then why can’t anywhere else?”

Around 77 people enjoyed their Christmas dinner with Christmas Care, and although only 28 people slept at the shelter during the time, many people did not want to come into the warm because they did not want to re-climatise to the streets after.

They did, however, come to the shelter when it opened on Christmas Eve to pick out some new bedding, new clothing and to have a hot meal.

Stuart Wilson, 49, was one of the people who stayed during the Christmas period after first becoming homeless a year ago when his relationship broke down.

He said: “Christmas Care is fantastic, especially at this time of year.

“It just gives you a chance to recharge your batteries.”

 

Swindon Advertiser:

Hairdresser Barbara Barry cuts Tony Hewlett’s hair at the shelter

 

Guests at the shelter could also see a hairdresser, and on Boxing Day the shelter was visited by two paramedics and a chiropodist offering guests advice and treatment.

The shelter was run entirely by volunteers who helped to feed and support the guests who visited the shelter, including a team from Swindon Rugby Club who carried out all the catering.

One of them was 21-year-old Charlotte Flannigan, who decided to help out to try and help others enjoy their Christmas.

She said: “I have really enjoyed volunteering.

“I wanted to do something to give something back, especially when we have such a good Christmas.

“I’ll definitely try and do it again next year.”

Any food, bedding, clothing or other items left over after Christmas Care closes today will not be wasted, with soups going to homeless charity Threshold Housing Link’s regular soup kitchens, the Broadgreen Breakfast Club at St Luke’s Church Hall will receive any left over bacon, eggs and sausages and any other food will go towards the Swindon Foodbank.

Leftover bedding and clothing will go towards charities who will donate them to other needy people.

For more information contact Patsy on 01793 642368 or log on to www.christmascare.co.uk.

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