Whilst Christmas brings joy to many, for others it can be a time of loneliness, hardship and depression, bringing with it an increased risk of suicide. It is also a particularly vulnerable time for those who are sleeping rough – in 2009, overnight temperatures dropped to a record low of minus 17.6 degrees.
When one of our team volunteered for some shifts over the Christmas period for Lifeshare in Manchester and brought our attention to the incredible work they undertake for homeless people, we wanted to help too.
Through staff donations and fund matching from the Directors at Harts, we collected enough money to buy and fill 12 care packages.
The winter care packages are contained in individual small backpacks and include essentials such as; a torch, flask warm hat, gloves and scarves, handwarmers, chocolate bars and toiletries (including feminine hygiene items, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, deodorant etc).
Lifeshare offer a Christmas Drop-in Service for homeless and vulnerable people who need comfort and support more than at any other time when a lack of friends and family with whom to spend the festive period only exaggerates the feeling of isolation. Lifeshare relieve this isolation by operating an ‘open house’ out of the Charter St Ragged School on Dantzic St in Ancoats from 8am to 8pm for six days over the Christmas period. They provide:
- Company – every day it will be staffed by around 60 volunteers who like nothing more than a chat over a cup of tea, a game of scrabble, or a sound thrashing at table tennis
- Entertainment – television, table tennis, board games and live entertainment in the evenings
- Food – a cooked breakfast, soup and sandwiches for lunch, a hot evening meal and unlimited tea, coffee and biscuits
- Clothing – Trousers, t-shirts, jumpers, hats, gloves, scarves, socks and underwear
- Bedding – Sleeping bags and blankets
- Toiletries – Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo
- Medical care – on most days, there is an on-site doctor, podiatrist and dentist
For further information or how you can help too, visit the Lifeshare website