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Cash needed to save community Christmas event

PUBLISHED: 17:49 29 May 2018

Ready for lunch at the annual Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth last year. Picture: Belinda Jayne Roll

Ready for lunch at the annual Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth last year. Picture: Belinda Jayne Roll

Belinda Jayne Roll

The organisers of a community Christmas event in Great Yarmouth are appealing for cash donations amid fears surrounding rising costs.

A visit from the Mayoress at the annual Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth last year. Picture: Belinda Jayne RollA visit from the Mayoress at the annual Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth last year. Picture: Belinda Jayne Roll

For 21 years, Open Christmas Great Yarmouth has offered thousands of vulnerable people a traditional Christmas lunch completely free of charge.

The event relies upon masses of donations of goods and services, as well as the time of a large team of volunteers.

However, due to additional expenses - such as hiring large scale catering equipment, security and covering insurance costs - cash donations are also essential.

Organisers recently held a crisis meeting to address the lack of funding and are now appealing for 50 businesses in the area to make a £100 donation towards the event.

A spokesman for the organisation said: “This event is held for the good of the community and we hope that local businesses will want to support the community and play their part.

“A list of participating companies will be shown on our website and will receive other free publicity through us. We would like to thank you for your support.”

The event is held for those who may otherwise spend Christmas alone and is designed to ensure the Christmas spirit is extended to all in or society.

Last year, almost 400 vulnerable people were catered for at the event at the Marina Centre in the Golden Mile.

On top of the lunch, guests also enjoyed live music, a goodie-bag of food, bingo, a raffle and a free jumble sale.

The event relies solely upon donations and has fed more then 6,000 people since its conception.

Mick Rudy was one of the many guests to attend the dinner for the first time last Christmas.

He said: “I’ve been homeless on and off since I was 17. I suffer from bipolar disorder and don’t always feel like coming out.

“Last Christmas I was quite sad as I spent it alone. Today has been great: the food and volunteers are lovely. It’s just nice to see the community helping out the homeless.”

To donate to the event, visit the website at www.openchristmasgreatyarmouth.org

Alternatively, you can contact the organisers directly at openchristmas.greatyarmouth@yahoo.co.uk or on 07823338402.

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