Volunteers ensure lonely and homeless survive Christmas

Surviving Christmas at the YMCA, Hastings. Volunteers Kay Zukor, Robert Newington and Ian Burns getting the kitchen ready for action.
Surviving Christmas at the YMCA, Hastings. Volunteers Kay Zukor, Robert Newington and Ian Burns getting the kitchen ready for action.

AN army of volunteers made sure the lonely and homeless survived the festive break by laying on free food and Christmas cheer.

Surviving Christmas, a charity that helps needy and hard-up families, as well as the destitute in Hastings and the rest of 1066 Country, held a three-day event at the YMCA in St Pauls Road on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Tuesday.

Surviving Christmas at the YMCA, Hastings. Eileen Kidby and Bill Evans (volunteers).

Surviving Christmas at the YMCA, Hastings. Eileen Kidby and Bill Evans (volunteers).

Kitchen staff cooked 125 meals alone on Christmas Day.

Visitors were treated to friendship, a game of bingo, reflexology and massage sessions and free check-ups by a visiting GP.

Christmas carols were also sung.

Symon Hewish, project co-ordinator for Surviving Christmas, said: “Our three-day event over Christmas went really well. We had all sorts of people coming through, quite a few being homeless.

Surviving Christmas at the YMCA, Hastings. Dr Steven Fong, from the Conquest, held a clinic for the homeless.

Surviving Christmas at the YMCA, Hastings. Dr Steven Fong, from the Conquest, held a clinic for the homeless.

“There were also those who were lonely and spending Christmas on their own, in fact, a lot who use the services throughout the year, like the Hope Kitchen and Seaview Project.

“From what I have been told we had more people coming to see us over the three days this year, compared to last year, so there has been an increased demand for our service.

“More than 580 hampers were also packed and delivered to hard-up families in the lead-up to Christmas until Tuesday. We also had 150 volunteers helping out over 10 days.”