A Southampton resident who regularly volunteers to help the homeless in the city centre is celebrating after winning a community hero award.
Swinton Group launched a nationwide search as part of its diamond anniversary to find 10 'diamonds' who make a difference in their local communities.
Claire Brand has won the award for her commitment to helping people who are homeless through volunteering with City Life Church to offer food, hot drinks and company.
Claire also delivers essential supplies such as clothing, tents and sleeping bags which can make a real difference to the lives of those living on the streets. She is soon to extend her experience to the housing project which offers one-to-one mentoring to vulnerable people to help them achieve independent living.
Speaking at the cheque presentation, which took place at Swinton’s Southampton’s regional office on Monday 18th September, Ms Brand said: “The competition is a great way to celebrate the good work happening in local communities and the donation will make a huge difference to the homeless and the work City Life Church does.
“We plan to use the donation to prepare for winter and to stock up on the necessities the homeless require – new clothes, sleeping bags, food, drink – whatever we notice they need at the time.”
John Cornett, area development manager at Swinton Group’s Southampton regional office, said: “Claire’s commitment to helping the homeless of Southampton living on the streets is truly inspiring.
“We designed our search for ‘Swinton Diamonds’ to celebrate local heroes like Claire. We hope this donation will help her continue the important work she is doing. Community spirit is incredibly important to us at Swinton, so this is our chance to give something back to those who go the extra mile.”
Dr Alan Whitehead MP for Southampton Test said: “The work done by volunteers like Claire and organisations like City Life Church are an incredibly important part of our local community in Southampton. I’m proud to be presenting this cheque in recognition of the real difference Claire makes to the homeless in the area.”
Nicky Porter from City Life Church said: “Claire has made a real impact, not only within the team but to the people we work with every week. She brightens up their day and that’s the most important thing.
Uppy Rattan, also from the Church, said: “We’re very grateful for the donation, it will really help us to support many more of the homeless and to provide them with what they need.”
Swinton Group is donating to community organisations and charities up and down the country throughout September as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations.