Hailsham charity shop provides comfort at Christmas

On Christmas day 2017, the Salvation Army charity shop in Hailsham opened its doors to welcome those experiencing homelessness and loneliness, handing out warm drinks and food, and offering a listening ear.

The initiative came from the shop manager Stephen Smith and his wife, who were acutely aware of how stretched local homeless services were and wanted to make sure there was a place for everyone to be on Christmas day. It was facilitated by the couple, who volunteered to run the day’s event.

Stephen said: “Being a Salvation Army shop, we really felt we should reflect what the charity is all about, and that’s helping and supporting disadvantaged people.”

“Knowing that the nearest Salvation Army centre is in Eastbourne, we wanted to make a space available for the people of Hailsham where they could go on Christmas day for at least a warm drink and someone to talk to.

“It turned into a bit of a family affair as my sons, Daniel and Robert, and Robert’s fiancé Gaby, also volunteered on the day to help make drinks and chat with the locals”.

The shop was open between 10am – 3pm on 25th December 2017.

“Many people visited us, including two lonely older people who just wanted to chat. We were happy to be there for them to make their Christmas day a little bit brighter” Stephen continued.

Stephen approached local supermarkets who donated vouchers to purchase the food for the day. All left overs at the end of the day were handed out to people staying on the streets, and to those sleeping in the bus shelter in Eastbourne.

The team at the charity shop received positive feedback from the local community which has encouraged them to make this an annual event.  

The Salvation Army Charity Shop is located at 1 The Quintins, Hailsham, BN27 1DP.

Shop: Hailsham