THE Lighthouse charity has launched a Christmas appeal to raise £40,000 to help those most in need.

“The cost of living crisis is really starting to bite,” said Erik Jespersen, co-founder of The Lighthouse project with his wife, Rebecca.

“There is a huge increase in the number of referrals we are receiving at The Lighthouse. Foodbank referrals are up 24% compared to 2021, and if the 2022 trend continues we could expect Christmas referrals to be up around 25%.

“At The Lighthouse, we can’t end poverty, but together we can bring some joy and hope to our local friends and neighbours this Christmas.

“A £20 donation could provide a Christmas gift for a child, £40 a Christmas dinner for a family, or £100 a family care package.

“The adults we support are telling us they are having smaller meals, skipping meals or even going a whole day without food because they can’t afford to eat.”

The Lighthouse, in the centre of Woking, is providing Christmas food parcels, winter necessities such as slippers, dressing gowns, onesies, pyjamas, and toys for those children who otherwise would not have a present to open on Christmas Day.

“We’ve never had so many referrals this early into the winter, we’ve already hit a record 750 families referred to us,” Erik added.

“We will also be hosting a Christmas Day brunch for everyone who was going to be on their own, cold or unable to make a Christmas lunch.”

The Woking Foodbank continues to provide three days of emergency food to every family or individual who is referred, and can also provide fuel top-ups for those on pre-paid meters, plus dedicated support advice.

“The Lighthouse is primarily run on the generosity of donations and over 250 volunteers, it’s a living expression of love in action,” Erik said.

“It’s home to the Woking Foodbank,which provides over 67 tonnes of foodeach year, Jigsaw, a kids’ bank providing clothes and equipmentfor over 500 children each year, and Style Studio,which supports female survivors of domestic abuse, providing clothes and coaching.”

* TO volunteer or to donate, visit The Lighthouse, on High Street, is open on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10.30-12.30pm.