For most, Christmas is the season to be thankful and spend valuable time with your family. But for those without a home, it can be one of the toughest times to face. To engage our young members with homelessness and show support of the local community, our staff have been working with Youth Links to create Christmas Cards for the homeless. The Christmas card project has been put together to spread a bit of Christmas cheer to some of those that need it the most on the streets of Southend, and offer a message of hope and support.
The important thing is that when ‘I’ becomes ‘we’, illness becomes wellness, and we want to help these people stay well and happy this Christmas. – Tom, Trust Links Mental Health Support Worker
Tom is a Mental Health Support Worker at Trust Links, and also volunteers at St Vincent de Paul – Short Street. He is one of our staff working with Youth Links on the Christmas card project.
“The challenges the homeless face go beyond not having a roof over their heads; they are constantly living in starvation, fear for their own safety, being ignored, being cold and isolated, and all this on top of any mental or physical health problems they face.”
“The challenges make them so vulnerable, and helping vulnerable people is our mission at Trust Links. Fortunately we have fantastic services in Southend to help feed and clothe people around Christmas, and we’d like to add to these services by giving the gift of love and care”.
Victoria, the Children and Youth projects Coordinator at Trust Links, is seeing first-hand the positive impact that making cards for the homeless is having on our Youth Links members.
“Acts of kindness and giving back to your local community are proven to improve feelings of mental wellbeing, and it’s clear to see how much our young people get out of making these cards for those less fortunate than them. Homelessness in Southend only seems to be rising, and the very least we can do for these people at Christmas is give them a card to let them know we are thinking of them in the hope that it will go a small way to lifting their spirits. Making the cards has helped to bond us as a group and think about how lucky we are – gratitude is also crucial to positive mental health”.
Tom added: “Our young members have such kind souls and have taken to the project with an immense enthusiasm; eager to learn more and help as much as they can. They have shown how big their hearts are, and are passionate about helping those less fortunate.”
Do you want to gift a Christmas Card to the homeless?
Tom and his team of fellow volunteers at St Vincent de Paul will be heading out on Christmas Day to deliver the Youth Links cards, and continue their mission to clothe, feed and support those who visit the soup kitchen.
We are also welcoming any cards from the public that would like to join us in gifting cards to the homeless this Christmas. If you would like to take part, please write and deliver your Christmas card to our Growing Together Westcliff garden on Fairfax Drive by December 23rd. We also ask that you please call us on 01702 213134 before delivering your card(s) to ensure we can do this in the safest way and maintain COVID-secure.
Want to find out more about how Youth Links supports young people with their mental health and wellbeing? Click here!