Southend’s Homeless Charity, HARP, offered those they support the opportunity to get involved with a community Christmas Tree Festival being held at Holy Trinity Church in Rayleigh, and the charity were thrilled to come third out of the 36 tree entries thanks to having so much support from visitors to the festival.
The charity that supports over 1,000 people each year are helping to bring some Christmas spirit to what could otherwise be a lonely time for the homeless and formerly homeless people they support. Sophie Bagot, 25, and Sue Norman, 49, both came to HARP when they found themselves homeless after a difficult period in their lives. They both spent the morning at Holy Trinity Christmas Tree Festival to decorate HARP’s Tree of Life sharing their time with other community groups enjoying an activity that so many take for granted each year.
The tree was decorated with 189 knitted figures; one for each of the people that HARP supported last December, one of whom was Sophie, who is now living in HARP accommodation and is feeling excited about this Christmas. However, last year it was a different story as she spent time rough sleeping before finding her way to HARP’s emergency shelter. She said “I don’t know what I would have done without HARP; I was sleeping on the streets last Christmas. HARP are so supportive and I am hoping that I will be able to get settled in my own place soon.”
HARP are providing a series of free Christmas dinner sittings to those they support throughout the festive period, and will also be opening their Bradbury Day Centre on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at lunchtime for a special Christmas soup service.
Help a local homeless person feel safe and warm this Christmas by donating to our Christmas Appeal.