Turkey and trimmings to be served to homeless this Christmas
published on 15 Dec 2022
Turkey and all the trimmings to be served to homeless this Christmas thanks to The Salvation Army
A church and charity is ensuring that homeless people enjoy a hot dinner in a warm and safe space this Christmas Day.
The Salvation Army in Warrington is serving turkey and all the trimmings to residents of its Lifehouse (hostel), James Lee House, on Christmas Day with staff rolling up their sleeves to serve the festive feast.
Located on Brick Street, residents will enjoy a three-course meal and festive activities which for many, will be the first Christmas that they have spent with others in a more secure time of their lives for a number of years.
The 54-bed Lifehouse, which welcomes both men and women as residents, has been offering a meal on Christmas Day to homeless members of the Warrington community for over five decades.
For one resident, Jon, 35, this year will be the first Christmas in 18 years that he has spent sober. After enjoying alcohol in his teens, which then developed into an alcohol addiction in his twenties, and finally a dependency in his thirties, Jon has been sober for nearly seven months thanks to support from several organisations, including The Salvation Army, and is this year looking forward to Christmas Day.
Jon said: “I’ve had a difficult few years and first found myself homeless when I broke up with my girlfriend following my alcohol addiction. It was a way of life when I was at university and by the time I was 19, I was a heavy drinker; binge drinking to start off with, then a drink to get me out of bed by my mid-twenties and dependent by my 30th birthday.
“When I took the decision to say to the staff at James Lee House that I needed help, it was such a weight lifted. I realised The Salvation Army are not just people behind a counter, I realised they could help me, and I saw the whole place differently. This will be my first Christmas in a long time that I will have been sober, and it feels good.
“My life has completely changed in the last 12 months. The Salvation Army couldn’t have helped me anymore, they’ve done everything for me, and in such a short space of time too. I’m really looking forward to Christmas and will spend lunch with The Salvation Army before taking a train to spend the rest of the day with my family, and to have those plans makes me feel proud, showing how far I have come.”
James Lee House has been part of Warrington for more than five decades and provides 54 beds for men and women over the age of 18 experiencing homelessness in and around Warrington. Run by The Salvation Army, the Lifehouse celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2018.
Debbie Rutter, acting service manager at James Lee House, said: “We do a special, served, Christmas Day meal every year, making our residents feel loved and included. For many, they are still going through very difficult stages in their lives, and so it is important for us to give them a sense of normality, to be around people that care and enable them to escape their worries, if even for a few hours.”
The Salvation Army hostels are known as Lifehouses because they provide specialist support and guidance to help residents to tackle the complex reasons that led them to homelessness, and help them end this cycle.