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Surviving christmas

186. Ann Andrews

A charity chairwoman from Hastings has volunteered hundreds of hours to make Christmas special for homeless people.

Through the charity ‘Surviving Christmas’ Ann has ensured that vulnerable and homeless people have a place to go during the festive season. She oversees the running of a two day Christmas event where food, tea, medical support, a change of clothing, showers, free haircuts and entertainment are all available for those in need. This year ‘Surviving Christmas’ celebrates its 30th year and over 5000 people from Hastings will have been helped by the organisation in 2014 alone.

Ann began helping out with ‘Surviving Christmas’ in 2011 and was instantly hooked. Since taking on the chairmanship almost two years ago Ann has led the committee in developing the organisation, and today ‘Surviving Christmas’ works alongside a number of other charities including Age UK, St John’s Ambulance Homeless Service in Hastings, and the Salvation Army. As a result, the charity is able to offer assistance for vulnerable people all year round. She has inspired an army of loyal supporters from Hastings who donate their time and money to the charity, many of whom return year after year to help out over Christmas.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Ann’s work to lead the army of volunteers that deliver this Christmas event is very special. Her work deserves recognition and I so am pleased to name her a Point of Light.”

Ann said:

“I am very pleased to accept this award to recognise all those who have given their time over the past 30 years to make Christmas a little brighter for those less fortunate. The charity runs projects by the community for the community and this is the reason many return to Hastings year after year to offer support. It’s lovely to see that donations mean as much to those donating as the charity receiving. It inspires us to continue with the projects knowing that so many in our community take pride in helping those most vulnerable.”

Ann Andrew’s local MP, Amber Rudd, said:

“Surviving Christmas provides not only Christmas lunches for local residents who are alone, but also a positive atmosphere, good company and all round festive cheer. Ann does a wonderful job marshalling and cajoling to ensure that volunteers and guests have a fantastic Christmas Day. We are very lucky to have her.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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