Streetwork service users and staff were delighted to be joined by footballing stars from Hearts and Hibs at our annual Christmas lunch yesterday.
Hearts players Jamie Walker and Soufian el Hassnaoui were put through their paces helping to dish up a three course lunch with all the trimmings to 60 guests, which was generously provided again this year by the Sheraton Grand Hotel.
Hibs players Mark Oxley and Martin Boyle also came along to meet service users and hand out match tickets, which the club generously donated for Saturday’s game.
The lunch also kicked-off the second half of Streetwork’s 2015 Winter Crisis Appeal, which aims to raise £10,000 to provide practical help for those who find themselves excluded, destitute and homeless this winter.
Our staff are also pitching in with finance manager and Jambo Gordon Watson, facing head of services and Hibee Jan Williamson, in a head-to-head festive fundraising fixture.
“We are really grateful to the clubs and players for giving their time so generously,” said Gordon.
“There is a lot of footie banter in the office all year round. So we reckoned we could channel that into a bit of fun to raise cash for the Winter Appeal. We’re calling on all Jambos and Hibbies out there to support us by helping to raise money for a great cause. It’s game on!”
Funds raised will provide essential support to people who are on the streets. Every little helps: £1 pays for a hot drink, £5 pays for a soup, a sandwich and a hot shower, £10 pays for a clean change of warm clothes, £25 pays for a winter sleeping bag and £150 helps run the Crisis Centre.
Streetwork chief executive Kenny Forsyth said: “Our dedicated staff are on the streets of Edinburgh 365 days a year reaching out to people living in the most desperate situations. Demands on services are particularly high at this time of year as the cold weather sets in.
“So we’re delighted to have such generous support from Hearts, Hibs and the Sheraton. Christmas is a time for families but for many people, the complex problems which lead to them becoming homeless stretch back to their own childhood.”
Both clubs also shared their support for the Streetwork Winter Crisis Appeal and urged fans to back the fundraising efforts.
A Hearts spokesperson said: “Heart of Midlothian Football Club is delighted to continue to back the fantastic efforts of Streetwork by attending their annual Christmas lunch.
“Christmas is a time for giving and our players are only too happy to give up their time to come along and serve Christmas dinners to those less fortunate.
“We wish Streetwork every success with their Winter Appeal and would urge our supporters to check it out and see how they can make a difference in someone’s life this Christmas.”
A spokesperson for Hibs added: “It is a privilege to support the Streetwork Winter Appeal again this year.
“The charity does a fantastic amount of work and we are happy to help where we can.
“Our supporters have shown their kind and generous nature on a number of occasions and I’m sure they will get behind the Winter Appeal this year.”