JERSEY TOGETHER: Free soup service being used by up to 30 Islanders per day

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In addition, the Christian charitable body has given away about £5,500 worth of vouchers to those in need this year and 30 Islanders are currently signed up to attend their Christmas Day lunch for those who cannot afford to buy their own or who would otherwise be alone over the holiday.

That number is expected to increase in the coming days.

The figures highlighting the need in our society come as the JEP continues its Jersey Together campaign calling on readers to help support members of our community who may be struggling in the run-up to Christmas.

Salvation Army leader Lieutenant Richard Nunn said his organisation sees people daily who are in need both financially and emotionally, often because of loneliness. And many of those who are struggling to make ends meet already have jobs, he added, highlighting the challenges of Jersey’s high cost of living.

His comments back up those from charities such as the Grace Trust, which yesterday said it regularly helped out in cases in which even those who were employed found themselves unable to cope because of the high cost of living in Jersey.

‘There is a need,’ Mr Nunn said. ‘We are seeing more and more people who have jobs that normally would be doing fine. They are getting more and more squeezed. Housing costs and food costs are so high. It is the average person that is being squeezed – the average family. Then if there is a crisis, such as if there are two parents both of whom are working and one falls ill, it completely changes things – that is a real crisis.’

He added: ‘In any society there are people that for a whole lot of complicated reasons find themselves in poverty and in need and there are lots of reasons for that, but there are factors on this Island that make it that bit easier to fall into financial crisis.

‘We lived in London for two years before moving here and house prices and food prices here are so high we were quite shocked by it – and that is coming from quite central London.’

Every day the Salvation Army café in Minden Street offers free soup to those in need. It also runs an emergency food bank but works with organisations such as the Grace Trust to refer those who require support.

The Salvation Army also provides electricity and Co-op vouchers throughout the year to those struggling to make ends meet.

When it comes to loneliness, however, Mr Nunn said Islanders themselves could personally make a difference by checking in on neighbours and people they know are on their own and also inviting them to Christmas dinner.

He fondly remembers his parents doing exactly that one Christmas and added: ‘As much as I think our Christmas Day at the Salvation Army is a brilliant thing and people seem to really enjoy it, I think that would be the dream, wouldn’t it? That people in the community just do it, offer their own houses and share their Christmas dinner.’

The Salvation Army can be contacted on 735472.

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