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New Group Helps Make a House a Home for People With Nothing

Author: Haley Storey Published: 17th July 2017 14:25

 MOPP group: L-R: Hayley Bessey, Elaine Bastable, Claire Beresford, Dannie Beresford, Andy Trewin, Sarah Knight

An organisation that helps vulnerable people to set up home has been officially launched in Portsmouth.

The Moving on Project Portsmouth (MOPP) held their launch at Somerstown Hub and invited members of the council and other community groups to find out more about it.

The organisation is headed by Sarah Knight who used to run Facebook group, Portsmouth Help for the Homeless where members gave out out essential items to people sleeping rough. She decided to go in a different direction following her experience.

"Towards the end of running Portsmouth Help for the Homeless, I realised that I wasn't actually helping," Sarah explained. "I was giving homeless people the tools to stay on the streets. All the time that the homeless are being given what they need to survive, they won't go to the services where they can get so much more help. I had to stop and think and changed my views slightly."

Sarah decided to start up the Moving on Project Portsmouth (MOPP) in March and has since helped 41 families and individuals. "We take in furniture and give it to those families who are struggling, moving into a new house, coming off the streets or out of a ladies' refuge or those already in their own homes who just can't afford to replace an item."

Sarah explained that the group relies heavily on donations. "We go out once a week on collections with our man and van and collect all our furniture and bring it to our storage unit that has been given to us by the council and that's where people come."

Elaine Bastable, Portsmouth City Council's housing options manager, attended the launch. She applauded the project and said, "MOPP are doing an awfully lot of good work with trying to provide furrntiure and belongings for people that have nothing and it's all voluntary. Our only assistance to this is to provide some storage place as it got completely out of hand, the amount of things that they were given. We can also spread the word so that the right people get the help they need."

Stephen Morgan MP for North Portsmouth came along to support the launch. He said, "I think this is a really good local project -- community led by volunteers that supports people settling into a new home with some furniture and the things we take for granted. What they're doing is absolutely fantastic and an example of Portsmouth at its best."

A spokesperson, from Portsmouth Domestic Abuse, said, "When women come to us, they have nothing and MOPP helps them set up their home so it is a home. It's amazing what they do. They've really helped by providing a bed to sleep in or a sofa to sit on. It's an absolutely massive support."

Andy Trewin was the very first person that MOPP helped when he was housed after winning custody of his son. He said, "We had nothing really.  We had no furniture, no money, we were basically surviving. 

"MOPP gave us everything we needed."

Now Andy is a volunteer for the group and added, "I just want to give back now."

Sarah said the group is in need of more volunteers but more importantly, a van and driver as their current one is leaving at the end of August. She said, "It will have a detrimental effect on how MOPP will survive and we can't do our collections or deliveries without it."

To find out information, you can contact Sarah on 07711 386069 or via the Facebook page.

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