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SHOC hosts Christmas lunch for homeless people

A Christmas Day lunch hosted by Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC) left guests ‘with bags full of presents and tummies full of food’ and brought festive cheer to homeless people.

About 35 people attended the meal at SHOC’s day centre in Ragstone Road and received presents donated by several churches and other organisations from across the borough including toiletries, chocolates and clothes.

“It’s really important for us here our guests that we are here on the day that other people are closed,” said SHOC project manager Mandy McGuire.

“It’s really important that we provide a welcoming environment which gives them some where that they feel wanted.

“It’s very family orientated and some of the guys and ladies, unfortunately for many different reasons, they are not able to spend Christmas with their families.”

She said that depression and suicide rates ‘shoot up’ around the Christmas period and says SHOC aims to help make the festive season a happier time for clients.

“We’re trying to make it as normal a Christmas as possible,” she added.

A similar event for boxing day is also held for both clients and members of staff who are unable to make the Christmas Day meal.

SHOC advocacy worker Vicky Cheeseman, who was at the Boxing Day meal, said: “I make sure that everybody’s waddling out here because they ate so much food.”

She said that while SHOC users have to meet a certain criteria for the charity’s help, SHOC will welcome people who its knows will be spending Christmas alone to its festive feast.

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