Christmas to many is a time of selfless and joyous giving. A time when the barrier between your finances and your ability to provide is stretched to its absolute maximum, not because because anyone is forced to, but because it is the one time of year where everyone forgets about the constant stresses of everyday life, and just gives.

At Launchpad Reading, the selfless giving works around the clock and providing support for those in need never stops.

The charity is made up of a large team which dedicates its time to eradicating homelessness around the town and its surrounding areas, to help those who are in trouble and in desperate need of support and care.

I stopped by the humble organisation, embarrassingly blind to the work they do, but left there after an introduction into their work, with my mind spinning with ideas on how I can help someone else this Christmas and beyond the holidays.

“We are all about helping people who want to help themselves and are willing to put in the hard work to do so,” said Amanda McDonnell, head of marketing at Launchpad.

The team at Launchpad provide incredible support to people who have come from difficult walks of life or even people who have just fallen on hard times.

Amanda added: “By securing long term leases, the team house people who once called a cold dark alley way their only home.

“Men and women who for whatever reason have lived through their worst nightmares of not being able provide for their family and have lost their homes have been given a second chance at life, and a roof over their heads."

The charity can house up to 140 people at any given point for a maximum of two years.

“People have to want to engage with us. A home is very much the centre of what we do,” she said.

The charity also holds drop in sessions a few times a week for people to pop in and talk about their problems as well as providing fundamental support such as computer skills.

Amanda added. “We do everything we can to build a relationship with our clients and if they can show us they are willing to turn their life around, if they keep coming to their appointments, show us they are actively looking for a job, do some online training when they pop in, then we can do so much more to help people than if they stay on the street and beg for money.”

As well as the fundamentals, Launchpad teach and provide complimentary life skills.

“We have an allotment, we have chickens, we have bees, but I am not saying that people have to do everything, because they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but by learning these skills people can begin to get their lives back in order and start contributing back to the community,” said Amanda.

Launchpad are on a mission to make Reading a better place for everyone and through the generous help of its volunteers, donors and through the many events they host, they are slowly reducing the number of rough sleepers and helping homeless people get back on their feet.

To volunteer or donate to Launchpad visit