HARP Launches Christmas Appeal As It Sees An Increase In New Rough Sleepers

HARP Launches Christmas Appeal As It Sees An Increase In New Rough Sleepers

HARP, Southend’s Homeless Charity, is asking local people to support its annual Christmas appeal as it reveals more local people face homelessness due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity has seen an increase in the numbers of new people having to resort to sleeping on the streets, just as the temperatures begin to plunge and we head into the coldest time of year. As first time rough sleepers, they may not be aware of the support and services available to them and could be particularly vulnerable.

Jackie Bliss, HARP’s CEO outside HARP’s Bradbury Day Centre in Southend.

“This year, Christmas might feel a bit different to usual but most of us can still look forward to celebrating as best we can in warm, safe homes,” said Jackie Bliss, HARP’s CEO. “However, the people who come to us for help don’t have that option, whether they are sleeping on the streets or at best in cramped bed and breakfasts or temporary, precarious accommodation. And there are many more who are living in fear of losing their home before Christmas. That’s why this year’s Christmas Appeal is more important than ever.”

Though the charity has to do things a bit differently this year due to the social distancing measures required, HARP will be giving all of the people staying in its 226 rooms, who might otherwise be on the streets, a festive meal and a Christmas present. They will also be working closely with other local agencies to ensure that anyone sleeping rough in the Southend area has access to a hot meal and receives a gift. But to do all this, they need your help!

HARP is asking people to spare more than just a thought for those on the streets this Christmas. Just £10 can bring a little Christmas magic to people who have been through a traumatic time.

By donating to HARP this Christmas you will provide so much more than a Christmas meal, you will be giving local homeless people the compassion, safety and support they need during the festive period and beyond.

To make a donation visit www.harpsouthend.org.uk/christmas or donate £10 by texting the word XMAS to 70450 (texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message)

“Our residents and visitors to our day centre are always so touched by the generosity displayed by the local community over the festive season. It makes such a difference to know that someone cares,” says Jackie. “This year, local support is even more important to HARP after a year of cancelled fundraising activities due to Covid. We know it’s been a tough year for everyone but every donation, no matter how small, adds up to make a huge difference.”

Last December alone HARP provided around 6,300 meals to residents and people visiting it’s Bradbury Day Centre. Each year, HARP supports over 1,200 people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home, and currently provides accommodation to up to 226 people at any one time.

Jamie Langstone
JLangstone@savs-southend.co.uk