Charity launches its 30th year of making Christmas special for those in need

A charity has launched its annual campaign to help the lonely and those in need during the festive season.

Surviving Christmas marks its 30th year aiding those who struggle most during the period, including the elderly, disabled and those on low incomes.

This year brings some changes, with the charity Open Christmas being held at The Salvation Army Hall, St Andrew’s Square, where guests are welcome from noon to 5pm Christmas Day and 10am-5pm Boxing Day. Showers, hairdressing, medical services, clothing, warm meals and friendship are all on offer by an army of volunteers.

Ann Andrews, chairman of trustees for Surviving Christmas, said: “This year we searched for premises that would provide us office, storage and space suitable for our three annual projects under one roof. The Salvation Army in Hastings provides us with all that and more. The work of the Salvation Army, and in particular its participation in the Snowflake project can provide immediate and continued support to our guests. We would like to thank the Y Centre, Young Cole and Langdon, Hastings Storage and many others for their support over the years.”

Graham Bailey, captain at The Salvation Army, said: “We are delighted to host Surviving Christmas this year, it compliments all that we try to do here week by week.”

Surviving Christmas is also packing and delivering up to 600 hampers and a small gift donated by the community to those in need. The charity also provides vouchers for groceries to local families, based upon referrals from care professionals.

A new project being piloted this year in partnership with St Matthew’s Church, St Leonards aims to reduce isolation among the elderly. Referrals will be taken for a small group of guests to share lunch and make friends within the parish of St Matthew’s and St Paul’s.

Donations of food and gifts are always needed and can be delivered to The Salvation Army Hall, St Andrew’s Square, from December 20 until December 23, between 10am and 4pm. Monetary donations can be made online at http://www.btplc.com/mydonate or by cheque made payable to Surviving Christmas and sent to PO Box 290, Hastings TN34 9DT.

Information or posters for each event can be obtained by emailing admin@survivingchristmas.co.uk.