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Crisis – what crisis?

Well, who would have known it – she certainly kept that quiet in the first instance! Lorrainne did a wonderful thing this Festive Season, and along with her daughter, volunteered for Crisis at Christmas.... In her own words, this is how it all came about....

“I decided to volunteer with Crisis, something I had wanted to do for a long time and was a real eye opener for me. I often see homeless people in the street and to be honest sometimes, I give money and other times I'm guilty of pretending I don't hear, make no eye-contact and walk on by.

Christmas is a time for festivities, food and drink, but it is also a time of giving and helping others. For many homeless people in the Capital, and with rough-sleeping in London rising, Crisis at Christmas is a lifeline. This year Crisis welcomed thousands of homeless people in from the cold.

All their centres were run by volunteers, ranging from medical specialists to general volunteers and were open for 7-8 days over the Christmas period. Prior to opening the centres, everyone worked to complete the last-minute preparations, making sure everything was in place and the centres were inviting, festive and comfortable for the guests.

Approximately 100 volunteers were on each shift, jobs were rotated and everyone worked well together, either in pairs or groups. One of my duties was working in the luggage area, welcoming guests when they arrived, many of whom were soaked through, with jackets dripping from the rain. They were able to store their belongings safely, given toiletries to shower and if available, dry and clean clothes, which had been donated. Jackets and coats were running low by Christmas Eve and we had to assess whose need was greatest.

People become homeless for a number of reasons and many homeless people previously had successful lives. I remember one guest I met who said "the only difference between you and me is, I was dealt a different hand and walked a different path". This really did make me think.... At times it is emotional as you listen to some of the life stories that unfold, but I also laughed, sang and joined in with the banter and I will always remember the strength and warmth of the people I met and be mindful of those who aren't so lucky and my aim for next year is to collect as many jackets/coats as possible, as for some homeless people, this is their duvet that keeps them warm at night and a wardrobe to hold their belongings.

I'm grateful for the time I spent at Crisis at Christmas and I would like to ask if anyone has any jackets/coats or clothing they would like to donate, please kindly bring to the Deaf Umbrella office at staff meetings. I will collect these to ensure that they get to those who need them most. To those who are able to contribute, a big thank you in advance!”

We are delighted to be able to support Lorrainne in her efforts and will be happy to receive your donations on her behalf.

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