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Recorder letters: Foodbank volunteers, help homeless, support veterans and unite over terrorism

PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 December 2019

Volunteers Audrone Juciuviene and Maureen Kinsey serving up a hot lunch at Bonny Downs foodbank. Picture: Bonny Downs Community Association

Volunteers Audrone Juciuviene and Maureen Kinsey serving up a hot lunch at Bonny Downs foodbank. Picture: Bonny Downs Community Association

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Paying tribute to our vital foodbank champions

Keeley James, Silvertown, writes:

This time of year often brings under the spotlight those who are suffering.

Christmas and the new year can be a time of great joy and happiness for many, yet for others it can be the most torrid of times.

Although I wish we didnt have to have them it's was quite inspiring to read last week's coverage of the foodbanks set up by Bonny Downs Community Association and Rokeby School.

Everyone deserves the basic right of a roof over their head and a regular meal. Sadly, so many don't have that basic need and it's up to the community to offer support and compassion.

Help homeless this Christmas

James Hickman, director of Crisis Skylight Centre, London, writes:

As the cold nights of winter draw in it becomes more apparent how important home is to us all. While most of the country will be getting ready to celebrate with loved ones and looking forward to a home cooked Christmas dinner, there will be thousands of people facing the struggle of having nowhere safe to call home.

Many of us will have noticed the rising number of people sleeping on the streets where we live or work. But what we don't see is that for every person on our streets there are another twelve families or individuals stuck in hostels, on sofas and in unsafe and insecure accommodation. No one should be forced to live, or spend Christmas, this way.

That's why - outside of our year-round services - Crisis runs special Christmas centres which offer hope where previously there might not have been any. At our centres guests are provided with warmth, food, companionship and access to vital services such as advice on benefits. They can also see a doctor or dentist, have a haircut, and get their clothes repaired.

But we don't stop there. At our Christmas centres, we introduce people to our year-round training, education and support with housing, employment and wellbeing. This long-term support helps people to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.

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But we can't do it alone. We're asking members of the public to help support our work this Christmas and year-round - so we can be there for everyone who needs us. So, whether you attend one of our carol services, become one of our essential volunteers or reserve a place for someone at a Crisis Christmas centre, you'll be helping to make someone's wish to end their homelessness a reality.

- To find out more or to donate to Crisis this Christmas please visit crisis.org.uk/christmas

Support for our veterans

Ed Tytherleigh, co-chairman, Cobseo (Confederation of Service Charities) Housing Cluster, writes:

As we look forward to the festive period and temperatures continue to drop, we must spare a thought for those who have served our country but find themselves homeless

Research shows around 300-400 veterans end up on the streets every year, and up to 4,000 require urgent support to find accommodation.

Under the Armed Forces Covenant (visit newham.gov.uk for guidance), veterans have access to enhanced housing support, but far too many still fall through the gaps and miss out on this.

- The No Homeless Veterans campaign (nohomelessveterans.org.uk), is funded by the Forces in Mind Trust.

Stand united

Mustafa Field OBE, director, Faith's Forum for London writes:

We, as representatives of many of London's faith communities deplore the terrible attack that took place recently at London Bridge. There is no justification for such a mindless and violent attack on innocent people.

The bravery of the members of the public and the emergency services shows Londoners at their very best. The people who have come out today to support the community and traders in London Bridge shows that we stand defiant against those who seek to divide us.

This is the time for all Londoners to come together to demonstrate strength and unity against those who wish to spread fear and hate. Islam, like all religions, does not tolerate violence and hatred in our society.

Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this terrible act.We call for Londoners, and our nation to stand together at this time as we continue our efforts towards peace, compassion, understanding and hope among people of all faiths and none. Our message is clear "Turn To Love".


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