Words: Kate Thompson
“We provide food, love and support for homeless, vulnerable, and lonely people, often living with addictions.
“We don’t ever turn anyone away,” said Lesley Wenden as she prepared for the regular Thursday night meal at the Lifehouse in Southsea.
She is supported by a band of volunteers who give up their time to help serving cooked breakfasts every Wednesday morning, all with a side order of care. And an evening meal every Thursday, at their premises in Harold Road, just of Albert Road.
As Lesley describes the care and attention that goes into providing food for up to 40 people, it is clear that she and her team are devoted to helping others.
And she is quick to point out that they rely on kind donations of food too.
“We get a car boot full of meat supplied every month by Maurice Twells from his butcher’s shop in Portchester Precinct – there must be £200 worth of meat; it’s wonderful, and that allows us to provide a nutritious meal on a Thursday. “We also have a Chinese meal for
40 people donated once a month from the fantastic Ed Lau, and The Tenth Hole regularly donates their beautiful cakes,” she explained.
Lesley manages the project, and has been involved for the past four years. She says there have been many encounters with the people she helps that have touched her heart.
During the recent harsh, snowy weather, a vulnerable street drinker arrived at the Lifehouse looking as though he had trekked through Alaska, complaining of suicidal thoughts.
“He was clearly in a bad way, but we were able to help him, and that’s what I call a success story.
“The most important thing is we love them – it doesn’t matter what has been happening in their lives, we just love them.
“And hopefully they realise there is someone who really cares,” said Lesley.
The Lifehouse is a registered charity and it relies on donations. If you would like to find out more go to www.lifehouse.org.uk