ABOUT 80 people who might otherwise have spent Christmas day alone were able to have a joint feast, thanks in part to a financial contribution from South Holland District councillor Gary Taylor.
The ward member for Spalding Castle gave £400 from his designated budget available to hand out to worthwhile community projects to Broad Street Methodist Church’s Christmas Day meal.
The meal has been served up in the Spalding church hall for 36 years since church member Judith Dodd discovered a neighbour was going to spend Christmas Day alone. At the first meal, just 12 people were fed but numbers have grown each year, with people referred from South Holland District Council’s Supported Housing Team, Age UK, churches and other sources.
This year, there were 88 requests for places but on the day a team of volunteers – including Spalding Flower Queen Daisy Ivatt – served 75 people, 37 of whom were referrals from the district council’s Supported Housing Team and another seven were also council tenants. Of those who dropped out, some were ill and others received late invitations from families.
Judith said: “Coun Taylor’s money covered the whole cost of the meal. I have heard that people really enjoyed it, although we have heard since that someone in Pinchbeck spent the day on their own and if we had known they could have come here. It was a successful event.”
Apart from the people who helped in the kitchen and by serving out the meals, twenty volunteers also arranged transport for 60 guests. Judith said: “If you look around at all the people that help, and the number of families that work their Christmas day round that meal, I think it is very generous. We were all right for help, but a few more would have made serving easier.”