Charity given nearly £60k from Festival of Speed

A charity that helps children and families affected by homelessness and other issues has been given almost £60,000 from Goodwood's Festival of Speed.

Wednesday, 27th December 2017, 9:06 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:47 am
Her Grace Susan Duchess of Richmond, right, presented a cheque for £58,733 to Carole Damper, chief executive of the Roberts Centre in Portsmouth Picture: Nicole Hains

The Roberts Centre in Portsmouth was named the main beneficiary of this year’s festival – with Her Grace Susan Duchess of Richmond presenting it with a cheque for £58,733.

Carole Damper, chief executive of the Roberts Centre said: “More children and families are facing homelessness, debt and distress in 2018 than any year since we began in 1987.

“Being the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s charity was truly amazing. Not only have we received more money than we could have hoped for but Goodwood also provided free tickets for young people and parents from the Roberts Centre to attend.

“Thank you to the people at Goodwood for caring enough to make a difference in the lives of those who are experiencing such a difficult time in their lives.

“Sadly the Roberts Centre will be needed for many more years to come and this amazing amount raised by the Festival of Speed will help us to continue to help others.”

Statistics from the department for communities and local government show the number of rough sleepers on Portsmouth’s streets has more than doubled since 2015 – increasing by 147 per cent, to 37.

Figures from the National Audit Office also show there has been a 60 per cent increase in people living in temporary accommodation since 2011, with 77,240 households living in this accommodation in March, 2017.

Last Christmas more than 120,000 children were living in temporary accommodation.

Ms Damper said: “Christmas is a time when our thoughts are drawn to the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves.

“Facing or being homeless is so much more than not having a roof over your head, it is a person or family like us or ours who may be feeling a sense of dread, failure, loss and uncertainty.

“What it certainly isn’t is a situation any of us would choose to be in.”

The Roberts Centre was one of the main beneficiaries of a Comfort and Joy campaign by the Observer’s sister title the Portsmouth News this year – which raised more than £12,000 in for organisations fighting homelessness in the city.

The cash will go toward sustaining the future of the vital support services the centre provided to more than 1,000 families and 2,400 children this year alone, in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant.

First held in June, 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is a world-renowned hill climb event and celebration of motorsport attended by scores of top drivers and celebrities.

It is set to return for 2018 July 12-15, 2018.