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Happy Christmas - The ESco Way

Article by Louise McHale

Mon 17 Dec 2018

Happy Christmas - The ESco Way

'Twas the month before Christmas and all through Trinity House
Team ESco were prepping and packing welcome letters for the crowds.
The Customer Service Team were nestled, with headsets in place
Taking orders for Gift Subs at a phenomenal pace.

Team ESco LOVE Christmas, we’re a jolly joyful bunch
The mince pies, the sherry, the festive client lunch.
But this year, to spread further our renowned festive cheer
We’re donating our Christmas card budget to a charity we hold dear…

...They are called Wintercomfort - there’s SO much good that they do
But we’re concerned you might feel we’ve forgotten about you...
...So we want to remind you, to us, you’re the BEST
Regardless of cards placed on chimney breast.

From our place to yours, Christmas blessings, we send,
To our partners, our clients, our suppliers, our friends.
We wish you a Christmas filled with peace, love and cheer
& raise a glass to you, and to a success filled New Year.

 

This video was created for ESco by Wintercomfort & Cambridge resident Tom.

Tom, 24 years old, has been homeless for three years ago, unable to secure stable accommodation. Tom is currently working full time, whilst sleeping out & utilising the services of Wintercomfort on a daily basis. During the creation of this short video, Tom helped with the production and editing process, an area he is keen to get into in the future. Tom is, for the first time in a long time, excited for the future, he's saving up for a deposit to rent a room locally and he starts a university course in September.

Wintercomfort for the homeless is a Cambridge based charity. The only charity in the city providing a day centre for homeless and vulnerably housed individuals providing vital welfare services, learning and development, volunteering and employment opportunities.  

 

Michael’s story

Michael, is one of the many other individual's that Wintercomfort has helped...

Losing both his job and home within weeks, Michael was sleeping in a doorway when he first came to Wintercomfort.

Michael said: “I spent the Christmas of 2016 on the streets. I remember seeing all the shoppers going past me, busy making preparations.  As someone who’d previously enjoyed the festivities, it was quite hard to suddenly be on the outside.

After 35 years of constant employment, ever since leaving school, I found myself without a job. I’d been in the RAF, then spent 12 and a half years as a bus driver in Cambridge. I’d had enough of driving and thought I’d find another job easily, but that wasn’t the case.

At the same time, the landlord of the house where I rented a room had to sell because of ill health. It was a double whammy; a big shock which I found hard to cope with initially.

For a time I was in a tent, then I was on the street. Trying to find somewhere safe to sleep each night wasn’t easy. I ended up in the doorway of what was Giraffe quite a lot; ironically, it’s just around the corner from the bus station.

I didn’t immediately come to Wintercomfort for help because I thought I could manage on my own. Eventually I was referred by the benefits people and Wintercomfort helped in so many ways.

I never begged, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I survived on the breakfasts here and soup and sandwich runs. 

Wintercomfort helped me sort out my life. I actually got some work with Cambridge Assessment, but it was too seasonal to be a long-term solution.

Getting permanent work without a permanent address is almost impossible.

I was told about a job with Overstream Clean. Cleaning may not be my first choice of career, but to be back in full-time employment is amazing.

My life has completely turned around. I’ve got a job and a home back. And I’m finally feeling optimistic about the future”

 

How you can help

Wintercomfort started life in 1990, with a group of friends, spurred into action by the city’s growing homelessness problem, delivering food, drink and blankets by bus. Grants allowed the enterprise to scale up and by 1994 Wintercomfort had moved into its present-day HQ, Overstream House. 

Offering everything from hot meals, showers and laundry services to skills training and work experience placements, 742 homeless or vulnerably housed people have called on Wintercomfort’s services in the last 12 months alone, with 60 visiting the centre daily. 

Open seven days a week, 8.30am to 2.30pm, Wintercomfort is reliant on grants and donations to run. £14 pays for one person to have a week of cooked breakfasts, £40 covers the cost of laundry powder for a month, and £100 affords a one-to-one skills training session; to date, the charity has helped 52 people back into work this year.

To make a donation to the Christmas appeal visit wintercomfort.org.uk/christmas now.


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