The charities featured in this year’s Caring Christmas campaign have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity of County Times readers.
The newspaper launched the campaign about a month ago supporting Horsham Matters foodbank, Age UK Horsham District, The Salvation Army, ARK Horsham and the Horsham Churches Together Winter Night Shelter.
In that time those charities have received support from the public in different ways.
Maria Stack, senior support worker at ARK Horsham, said: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Horsham people and on behalf of the ARK family we would like to thank everyone for their continued support.
“All these generous donations will help to lift people’s spirits at Christmas and enable people to enjoy the festive season and the New Year.”
Founding director Lisa Burrell added: “We really wish all our supporters and friends a very Happy Christmas and New Year. We look forward to sharing with you how your help has made a difference to people’s lives this Christmas.”
ARK, which gives holistic support to people struggling with addictions, homelessness, unemployment and other life-challenges, will be open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day so none of them have to spend the holiday alone.
Also helping homeless people this Christmas is the Horsham Churches Together (HCT)Winter Night Shelter run in associated with the charity Horsham Matters.
It is a three month project where seven Horsham churches host homeless people for one night a week.
Volunteers share a meal with them, play games or watch films together and give them a warm place to stay the night.
Ian Fletcher, HCT co-ordinator: “Through Horsham Churches Together and Horsham Matters, and six other Christian partner charities, churches in Horsham demonstrate God’s love in a practical way.
“Horsham churches are active in many areas – local, national and international – and HCT makes it possible for busy churches to engage with local organisations and work with others to greater serve the needs of the local community. We are always delighted that the local community offers us such generous support.”
Guy Sherlock operations director at Horsham Matters added: “Through Foodbank we have been able to provide emergency food for a number of local people who would not otherwise have had the means to provide food for their families. We could not do this without the help of our volunteers, those who have given so generously with regular donations and those who respond to the gift days at Tesco Stores.
“Thank you, everyone, for your generous support; you have made a difference - our very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.”
At Age UK Horsham District people of all ages have been coming in to entertain guests and raise money for the charity.
Included in those events were some performances from schools on the Horsham bandstand last Thursday.
The Forest School choir and band and the Year 6 choir and orchestra from Greenway Academy, Horsham played a selection of Christmas music while shoppers gave donations to Age UK volunteers.
There have also been musical treats at the charity’s Lavinia House from St Mary’s CofE Primary School, resident pianist FredWard and the pupils of Towers Convent School.
Community fundraiser Angie De Ath said: “It’s been fantastic to have the support of lots of the audience commented on how delightful it was to see such talented children supporting Age UK Horsham District. Lots of the older people in the audience were particularly touched.”
Salvation Army launched their Toy Appeal to ensure disadvantaged children in the area have a Christmas present this year.
Major Ann Stewart said: “It’s been a good response. We’ve had food and toys donated. We have helped over 200 families with food parcel vouchers and toys in Horsham and the outlying district and a bit of Crawley.
“When you take it into schools the teachers tell us what a difference it’s going to make to families.”
The church is holding a young people’s carol service on Sunday December 21 at 10.30am and on Christmas Eve at 4pm a Carols by Candlelight service. People are encouraged to bring tea lights in jam jars to light.