THE spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Basingstoke as kind-hearted volunteers served up a festive feast for rough sleepers.

More than 60 guests attended the annual Camrose Centre Christmas lunch held at the Church Cottage, behind St Michael’s Church in the town centre.

For many of the rough sleepers who were in attendance on Thursday, 14 December, this would be the only Christmas meal they have.

With a warm welcome, volunteers from the Camrose Centre, along with members of the Basingstoke Deane rotary club and Basingstoke Voluntary Action (BVA), served up 65 Christmas dinners, all cooked by rotary club member Ann Fryer.

For the rotary club, who provide food parcels for the Camrose Centre, it was an opportunity for them to see first hand where their donations go.

Alan Gibson, president of Basingstoke Deane rotary club said: “It is a great opportunityfor the members to get involved in an amazing occasion.

“We support the Camrose throughout the year, and this is a chance for us to show people sleeping rough that we care about them.”

In the past year volunteers at the Camrose have seen a change in attitudes towards rough sleepers, with Basingstoke and Deane’s Social Inclusion Partnerships work in out reach a big part of that.

One of the guests at the lunch, Pete the Hat, has seen the benefits of the work of the volunteers, after refusing to be put into accommodation, last year Pete used the Night Light Winter Shelter and has found himself a permanent shelter.

Before the meal, Pete organised for a Christmas card to be signed by all the guests as a thank you.

Pete told The Gazette: “They all really look after us, so I just wanted to do something to say thank you.

“I really appreciate what everyone does for me, I still have bad days, but knowing there is someone to talk to really helps.”

To support the Camrose Centre, or to donate visit or