A VITAL Christmas charity which helps homeless people in Weston over the festive period is in need of volunteers.

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Comfort at Christmas has been providing shelter, food and presents for people without a permanent home for the past 21 years.

And the charity has warned that it is preparing for numbers to swell this year because of the economic climate.

Committee chairman Jon Codd said: “We also run a soup kitchen in the summer months and it was particularly busy this year.

“A lot of homeless people come to Weston in the summer but they tend to stay for winter so the number of homeless people and ‘sofa-surfers’ grows.”

The project, which is held at St Paul’s Church Hall in Walliscote Road, will open its doors at 1pm on Christmas Eve and runs until December 29.

Around 30 volunteers are needed to help over the six days and five nights – but Jon said the charity is particularly appealing for people to help cover the night shifts from 11pm-8am.

Comfort for Christmas, which is sponsored by registered charity Comfort and Warmth, can cater for up to 60 people, and provides beds and meals including Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on December 25.

Mr Codd paid special thanks to electronics retailer Peter Castell, of Meadow Street, which is providing a television for users of the service and Indian restaurant Hussains, of Orchard Street, which is delivering 50 curries for Christmas Eve lunch.

He added: “We normally put up a Christmas tree and make it as homely as possible so it has a good atmosphere.

“This really is vital for the people who use it and we appreciate all the help we are given.”

Mr Codd also praised students of Ashcombe Primary School and their parents for the 100 plus bags of food they have donated to the cause.

The project, which opens over the festive period to stand-in for other social services which wind-down at this time of year, will also hand out gifts to its users on Christmas Day.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or donate cash, non-perishable food, gifts, clothing and blankets, can ring Jon on 01934 813139 or 07766 448889, or e-mail coddy52@tiscali.co.uk

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