Charity overwhelmed by readers’ generosity this Christmas

The Ark - a charity which helps people out if addiction, poverty and homelessness. photo by Derek Martin
The Ark - a charity which helps people out if addiction, poverty and homelessness. photo by Derek Martin

The Horsham charity Ark would like to thank all the County Times readers for their “phenomenal” response to this year’s Christmas campaign.

Throughout the year, the charity holds drop-in sessions three times a week at Horsham United Reformed Church for people struggling with addictions, unemployment, domestic violence and homelessness.

The visitors who are homeless currently have the opportunity to stay overnight at the Horsham Churches Together winter night shelter held in Horsham town centre, but at other times of the year, advocacy from volunteers at Ark can be the only help they get to find them somewhere to live.

On Christmas Day volunteers and people who have come to the Ark for help will exchange gifts and celebrate as any family would.

As a result of the month-long campaign in conjunction with the County Times, charity director and co-founder Lisa Burrell said they already have everything they need for the Christmas and Boxing Day meals.

Lisa said: “We have had very positive enquiries, people have wanted to know more about the services we offer, people have referred family members to us for support.

“Others have offered to volunteer and many have arrived during the sessions with bags of donations.

“We had the Horsham Lions come in with donations of food, the Rotary Club and also donated some vouchers and the Horsham Salvation Army has given a financial donation.

“The turkey has been donated by Coco’s Hairdressers who come in every eight weeks for us. We’ve had enquiries and we have been able to say ‘yes please’ and we have got everything we need already.”

People have also donated fresh vegetables, cheese for the cheese board, table cloths, Christmas crackers and Greenway School is donating the Christmas tree after they break up for the holidays.

Lisa said: “We have had a lot of individuals contact us this year. We are very, very grateful and it’s made us aware of how much love there is in Horsham for people.”

For more information about the charity’s work and ways in which to help throughout the year, see the panel to the right.

Ways of helping throughout the year

donations of food

The Ark Horsham gives out food bags throughout the year as well as offering hot meals three times a week for people in need.

The charity welcomes donations of fresh food for the meals and non-perishable items for the food bags. Items they regularly run short of include tinned pies, tinned meats, coffee and sugar. Donations can be dropped off during the sessions at Horsham United Reformed Church in Springfield Road on Monday 9am to 3pm, Tuesday 2pm to 8pm and Thursday 9am to 4pm.

practical help

To help people rebuild their lives, the charity offers a range of practical and emotional support including training in literacy, numeracy, budgeting, CV writing and interview skills. They also provide a listening ear, counselling, accompanying people to medical appointments and advocacy. The charity also welcomes additional services like the bimonthly visit from Coco’s Hairdressers and a chiropodist already offered.


Like every charity, all its work not only depends on voluntary donations of time, but also of money. If you have a fundraising idea or would like to offer a financial gift they would love to hear from you.

For more details about any of these opportunities contact Lisa Burrell on 07825 284054 or email