Festive cheer for Sunderland’s homeless

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HOMELESS people enjoyed a night of festive cheer.

Residents of Swan Lodge Salvation Army life house, in Sunderland, held their annual carol concert on Friday.

Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, Councillors Bob and Julianna Heron, were among guests enjoying traditional Christmas carols.

A Salvation Army band from the citadel, in Cairo Street, joined the singers.

Workers at the hostel in High Street West joined in the fun, performing a mini Christmas play for the 65 residents and their friends and families.

The party marks the end of the accommodation scooping a host of gongs.

Swan Lodge won three in the last few months, including the Community Award in the Echo Portfolio Awards.

Its Tenancy Achievement programme, which helps residents prepare for renting a home, picked up the Open College Network Community Innovation Award.

Tutor Sonia Ritchie-Park was named Best Skills Provider at the What’s on 4 Me Awards at the Ideal Homes Exhibition in London.

Centre manager Christine Ritchie said: “For some of the lads it’s a really difficult time of year, because some have kids that they won’t get to see, but others really enjoy it.”