The volunteers offering comfort at Christmas...

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 December 2012

Voluteers Anne, Dom and June with other members of the team.

Voluteers Anne, Dom and June with other members of the team.

Archant

A MAN who slept rough in a tent in the woods has praised the charities in Weston which he says have helped him turn his life around.

Clive Goodman went from sleeping rough to living in his own flat thanks to the help of Somewhere To Go and Comfort At Christmas, two groups which operate in Weston to help those less fortunate.

Now, those involved with the charities say it is more important than ever, as Christmas approaches, to highlight the work the groups do at what can be a lonely time of year for those without homes or the support of loved ones.

Clive, of Moorland Road, Weston, used to install loft and cavity insulation, but was made redundant after his employers were bought out.

He then ended up sleeping in a tent, and using a shower block on the seafront to wash.

But Somewhere To Go, based in the Boulevard, helped Clive get back on his feet.

The 40-year-old said: “Places like this really helped me out. Weston is a great place, if you’re working, but if you’re on social benefits, it’s horrible.

“They helped me no end, they listen to you, and they don’t judge.

“I used Comfort At Christmas too. It is brilliant, they give you a bed and get you involved in activities, board games and quizzes.”

The service, based in St Paul’s Church in Walliscote Road, also helps those who are lonely and have no-one else to turn to during the holidays.

Clive added: “I did Christmas on my own once. It was really depressing. So I ended up going down to the church. I just couldn’t handle it on my own.

“Christmas is supposed to be when people come together with each other and do things.”

Somewhere To Go provides three-course meals for £1, offers the chance for people to change their clothes, wash and shower, as well as providing the chance to socialise.

It is a service Paul Farrell, aged 54, agrees is vital to the town.

He said: “I was sleeping rough in my car after my divorce.

“I ended up in rehab for drink and drugs. I left that, and ended up in B&Bs until the money ran out and I slept in my car.

“It was a convertible with a canvas roof, so it was not very warm.

“But this place helped me find a room. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them.”

It is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.30am-2.30pm at St John’s Church Hall in the Boulevard, Weston.

Comfort At Christmas opens its doors from Christmas Eve, providing a bed and hot food to those in need.

But the service is still in need of volunteers to help it run its centre, which is now in its 23rd year.

The charity also urgently needs food, blankets, clothing, toiletries and gifts to offer to the people staying at the shelter from Christmas Eve until December 28.

Committee chairman Jon Codd said: “It is such a worthy cause and is very close to my heart. We would also welcome donations of money if possible to help with our running costs, no matter how small.”

To volunteer or donate food, clothing, gifts or money, call Jon on 01934 813139 or 07766 448889 or go to website www.comfortandwarmth.co.uk

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