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Homeless charity desperately needs more volunteers this Christmas

People in need can come to the charity for hot food, a place to sleep, and a bit of company. Credit: ITV West Country

A charity that supports homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol says it desperately needs more volunteers this winter.

Caring at Christmas wants to give hundreds of people a hot meal and a place to sleep between Christmas and New Year. But to make it happen, the charity is looking for about three hundred more good samaritans.

One of the people already signed up for the Christmas shifts is Philip Horgan. This is his fourth year of volunteering, and he says giving others a decent meal and a safe place to sleep can be the greatest gift of all.

Today is a gift, and thats why its called the present, you've got to do something today, and thats why I keep coming back.

If I can do something for somebody else i get a lot of enjoyment out of that.

– PHILIP HORGAN, VOLUNTEER

From December 24th to New Years Day, Caring at Christmas will become a sanctuary for 250 homeless and vulnerable people every day

11
days Caring at Christmas will welcome guests
4,581
hot meals served last year
70
overnight guests given a safe warm place to sleep
As well as hot meals, the charity provides a safe place to sleep Credit: ITV West Country

The charity will serve three meals a day, including a nutritious, hot dinner. But its about so much more than bed and board.

It's the human contact, I do know from speaking to the various guests over the years, they are so appreciative, because they are treated as a human being.

– PHILIP HORGAN, VOLUNTEER
Phil plans the meals and will be in every day over Christmas. Credit: ITV West Country

Feeding so many people takes organisation, and head chef Phil is the man with the plan.

He'll get through 500 litres of custard and more than a hundred tins of mixed beans. But the key ingredient is people.

We've got a team of 800 volunteers over that period, and each shift in the kitchen needs 20 volunteers. At the moment we've got about 500...we'd like to have some more volunteers to join us.

We can always accommodate last minute volunteers to join us, if someone thinks a few days before christmas 'oh, I'd like to do that', then they should pick up the phone or go to the website and come down

– PHIL SUMMERHAYES, HEAD CHEF
Volunteers at a briefing. Credit: ITV West Country

Volunteers come from all over the west country - bringing some christmas sparkle to what for some can be the darkest time of year.

You can watch the full report below. Lise McNally spoke to volunteer Philip Horgan, and head chef, Phil Summerhayes: