People experiencing homelessness at the heart of Christmas celebrations in Stoke on Trent
published on 13 Dec 2018
The Salvation Army in Stoke on Trent is preparing for its Christmas celebrations and will be ensuring that those who are often most excluded do not miss out this year.
Vale Street Lifehouse (residential accommodation) supports 64 men and women, aged 18 years and over and who have experienced homelessness. Accommodation is provided by either single rooms (60) or self-contained flats (four on-site). The Salvation Army provides a contracted service to Stoke on Trent Council to accommodate people experiencing homelessness.
The Salvation Army provide support for single homeless people and people suffering from addictions with high-quality residential accommodation to help them to live independent and positive lives.
Residents can access a range of support including the opportunity to enhance their life skills and prepare for independent living, as well as one-to-one tailored assistance in tackling the obstacles that have led to them experiencing homelessness. The Lifehouse has accommodated around 200 people over this last year and residents will be able to celebrate Christmas together at the Lifehouse, sharing a three-course meal on Christmas day.
Local bands have also collaborated together to produce a compilation album to raise funds for the Lifehouse, the album is called ‘Home Less’.
The Lifehouse Manager, David Maxfield said: “Christmas can be an emotional time for many people, with communities and families gathering together to celebrate. Many of the people living in our Lifehouses experience homelessness due to a breakdown in relationships and by becoming homeless they can also feel isolated from society – it can be a lonely time of year.
“As a church and charity, we want to make sure that people feel included in a supportive, welcoming community. At Christmas, we will be holding a Carol service in the Lifehouse on 23 December and our residents will have a three-course Christmas Day dinner. Staff are also making sure everyone has a gift on Christmas morning as part of our celebrations. There will also be a number of Christmas-themed activities in the lead up to the big day.”
“Our aim is that people will move on from us into their own independent accommodation, whether that is private rented or housing association accommodation, with continued support from us and other partner agencies, if needed. We also give advice and help on other housing options and we have an Employment Plus service that helps people become job-ready. We walk alongside our residents to break the cycle of homelessness. We have seen many successful move ons throughout the year. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year and continues to do so.”
The Salvation Army church on Camp Road will have their Carol service on Sunday 16th December at 10.30am, where children are invited to dress up in their favourite character from the nativity. The service is followed by refreshments including mince pies.
Christmas lunch is served at The Salvation Army church on Friday 21 December and includes two courses. The day includes some activities including arts and crafts and runs from 10.30am until 2.15pm and is FREE. However, members of the public are asked to book in advance, so all can be catered for. Please phone 01782 – 832422 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The events are open to all members of the public.