FOR many, Christmas is a time for family, friends and too much food – but for those who are homeless, the festive season can be one of the hardest times of the year.

Fortunately, The Camrose Centre, a drop-in centre which helps the homeless and the vulnerable, was able to spread a little Christmas cheer with a dinner for its service users on December 20.

Catherine Goswell, centre manager, helped to organise the Christmas dinner, complete with crackers, presents and festive tunes for 31 services users, including people living on the streets and sofa-surfing.

She said: “For some of them, it will be the only Christmas dinner they get. It can be a really difficult time of year for people who are homeless, and events like this are important.”

The event, held in St Michael’s Church Cottage, Basingstoke, was organised and run by the team of volunteers at the centre.

A big turkey dinner with all the trimmings was enjoyed by all who attended and crackers, party hats and Christmas tunes were also provided.

Attendees were also given gift bags including presents and toiletries Basingstoke and Deane mayor Councillor Martin Biermann attended with his wife Chansopha and also present was Rebecca Kennelly, chief executive of Basingstoke Voluntary Services.

The Camrose Centre, which receives around 442 client visits each year, lost key funding support and its former premises in 2012, and the Basingstoke Voluntary Services team have now taken over support for the much-needed service.

They are now fundraising to keep the service, which has been operating from temporary premises, going.