TWO homeless people have escaped the December frost and momentarily found warmth, food and sanctuary at The Ark in Birkenhead.

James Palmer, 42, of Manchester, arrived at the shelter three weeks ago, after spending two years living in a tent on the Manchester canal.

Through a combination of lifestyle choices and circumstances he has been homeless for most of his adult life.

He said: “If it wasn’t for this place, I’d probably have pneumonia or be dead.

“I now get three meals a day, a shower, a bed, health checks and advice.”

Another resident at The Ark, Sarah Wise, 29, of Australia, came to Merseyside three-and-a-half years ago when she married an English man.

She said: “One day my husband told me he was gay and left me.

“Then I was made redundant from my job and had no support.

“I ended up in a squat for two days, but last week thankfully a women’s centre in Liverpool found me a place here.

“I’m a lot more relaxed now - I had no idea places like this even existed.

“I was so lost and the fact that I now have people around me to help get me back to Australia makes me feel so much better.”

Ark worker Bob Jarvis, 61, of Heswall, said: “These people are not a breed apart from everyone else – they have just lost their way.

“Sarah is a perfect example of someone who just needs time out in order to get herself back on track.”

To add some magic to these lives this Christmas, we want our readers to donate tinned food, groceries, toiletries, chocolates and other small gifts which we will gather into a huge Christmas parcel and deliver to The Ark.

Drop all your donations off at the Wirral News, Second Floor, 76 Hamilton Street, Birkenhead.

For more information, or if you would like become a volunteer at The Ark, visit or call 650 6854.

Edited by _jase_ (10th Dec 2008 1:45am)