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Where to get a free Christmas dinner in your community this year

As the cost of living bites, charities, grassroots groups and restaurants around the UK are offering free food and festive cheer for people on Christmas Day

Christmas dinners for homeless

Christmas can be a difficult time for people who are homeless or on their own. That's why hundreds of kind-hearted volunteers give up their time on Christmas Day to offer hot food and festive cheer. Image: Brett Jordan / Unsplash

Charities, grassroots groups and restaurants around the UK are offering free food and festive cheer for people in their community on Christmas Day.

Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year for most of us but this year, with the cost of living crisis, millions of people will find it tough. And for people experiencing homelessness it can be particularly difficult.

Many people without a home are often excluded from the festivities and left alone on the streets. Loneliness can be a big issue.

Missing out on Christmas dinner is a sad reality for many – but that’s where hundreds of people have offered to step in this year.

The Big Issue is here to help. We’ve teamed up with chefs who have shared their tips on how to create a cheap Christmas dinner this year. But if you don’t have the facilities or the funds to cook, restaurants, grassroots groups and charities are opening their doors to offer up free food for those who need it.

Here’s a round-up of everywhere we know is offering a free Christmas dinner.

Where to get a free Christmas dinner in Wales

The Anchor restaurant, Swansea –  The Swansea establishment is once again donating takeaway Christmas dinners to those experiencing homelessness. You’ll get a free bowl of soup, bread and a hot drink.

Brigend Community Outreach CentreThis community hub in Brigend is hosting a Christmas dinner at its hub on 22 December (which you should book ahead). It’s additionally offering up a free Christmas breakfast on Chirtsmas day to anyone in need of warmth and good company.

This includes bacon rolls (or a veggie alternative) and hot drinks. This isn’t just for people facing homelessness but for anyone that would like to join for company and breakfast. They will hand out gifts and enjoying company and Christmas music. Everyone is welcome to join from 9am to 11am.

Cegin Hedyn, CarmarthenCommunity canteen and kitchen Cegin Hedyn will be serving up freshly-cooked food and company on Christmas day. It’s open from 12pm to 2pm at the Lammas Street centre. Pick up your ticket from Cegin Hedyn or order online.

Pembroke Dock Quins RFC – There will be a community Christmas dinner at Quins Rugby Club. Christmas lunches and hot drinks to anyone who needs them on Christmas Day, and will take place from midday to half two at the club’s grounds. Those looking to attend should send an email to pdchristmas2022@gmail.com or message the Facebook page.

St. Thomas Church, Swansea– The church is once again hosting a free Christmas dinner on Christmas day, between 12.30 to 2.30. It says: “You may be a single parent, an elderly person, an international student, someone who is homeless…the list is endless.  You will find a lovely group of people who are hanging out together on this beautiful day from all different backgrounds.” Those interested in attending should book in advance by calling 01792 455671.

The Swansea Wellbeing CentreThe centre is hosting a ‘Big Christmas get-together’ on the day, between 2pm to 5pm. This will include a buffet, hot drinks, socialising and fun activities. 

Bethany Residential Home, Chepstow– The Bethany Residential Home is hosting a free festive lunch for anyone over 65 in the area alone on Christmas Day. Those interested are advised to get in touch in advance via 01291 621425 or contact@bethanyhome.co.uk.

New Life Church, Cardigan – The Cardigan based church is once again hosting a free Christmas lunch, with those interested encouraged to book ahead. 

St Collen’s Hall, Llangollen A free Christmas lunch will be held here for anyone who needs it – with people welcome from 11am to 4pm. The meal, a full traditional Christmas lunch, turkey with ‘all the trimmings’ (or poached salmon), will be served from 1pm. Book in advance by calling Mike Connolly on 07375374914 or emailing mike@t-c-p.co.uk

Where to get a free Christmas dinner in London

The Alexandra pub, Wimbledon, south LondonThe Wimbledon pub will be welcoming anyone who turns up alone from 12pm to 3pm on Christmas Day the chance to tuck into a free dinner.

Announcing the return of the initiative on Twitter it said: “Don’t be on your own on Christmas day! Come to us between midday and 3pm. We’ll give you a free Christmas dinner and free beer/wine. We mean it, FREE. Please only come if you’re on your own, our space & food are limited. Last year 186 came!”

Cummin’ Up restaurant and takeaway, Lewisham  – For the 14th year in a row, the Caribbean restaurant and takeaway will offer all a free Christmas dinner. Call 07831423163 for more details.

Brixton Soup Kitchen, south LondonBrixton Soup Kitchen will be providing turkeys, Christmas presents, food packages, toys and Christmas trees on 23 December at Pop Brixton from 1pm to 4pm.

Jackson’s Lane, Highgate – Arts and culture venue Jackson’s Lane will be hosting a free sit-down lunch for isolated older adults who would otherwise be alone on Christmas day. Contact christmas@jacksonslane.org.uk to refer yourself or another.

South and east of England

Oxford Christmas Lunch – The Oxford Christmas Lunch will return for 2023 from 12:30pm to 4pm – to book a place, contact Sara on sara@oxfordchristmaslunch.org or call her on 07535 314716.

The Gaskin’s Free Christmas Lunch, Guildford – The Gaskin’s is offering a free Christmas meal to be delivered for anyone within a 10 mile radius in Guildford. Last year they cooked 567 meals.

Community Voluntary Services TendringCVST are opening their doors on Christmas Day between 11.30am to 2pm for anyone in need of some hot food and company.



North of England

Cornerstone, ManchesterThe day centre operated by the Dioceses of Salford on Denmark Road will serve hot food on Christmas Day – get in touch with them directly for more information. 

Lifeshare, Manchester – Lifeshare will be offering a seven-day indoor provision over the Christmas period for rough sleepers and those dealing with food insecurity and social isolation over the age of 18. This includes the provision of free Christmas meals.

They also have drop-ins from various services including, barbers, hairdressers, opticians, doctors, and nurses as well as a representative from the cold weather team to make referrals if Manchester City Council offers cold weather accommodation. They have live entertainment including musical performers each day along with games, Christmas films, and creative expression workshops. 

The People’s Kitchen, Newcastle – The People’s Kitchen has been fundraising through its Feed a Friend for a Fiver campaign throughout December to offer up a free Christmas dinner to homeless people at its Bath Lane base on Christmas Day. 

Knaresborough Masonic Hall, Knaresborough – Locals in North Yorkshire town Knaresborough will offer Christmas dinners for delivery, collection or dining in from 1pm on Christmas Day. Attendees should get in touch directly to book a place – the cut off date is 23 December.

Babul’s, Darlington – Babul’s in Darlington will be open between 11am and 3pm on Christmas Day to provide meals, hot drinks and supplies to the homeless, vulnerable and anyone else in need.

Where to get a free Christmas dinner in Scotland

Social BiteEdinburgh-based social enterprise Social Bite is opening its doors on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for those experiencing homelessness across Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow to enjoy a free festive meal. 

Wood Street Social Club, Glasgow – The club is putting on a free Christmas dinner in the east end of Glasgow on December 21. Places are limited, so contact in advance.

UK-wide

Large homelessness charities also offer up hot food on Christmas Day in various locations across the country and you can volunteer to help them. Crisis and The Salvation Army are just two of the charities offering vital support, shelter and food on Christmas Day.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Know of any others offering free food on Christmas Day? Let us know at editorial@bigissue.com

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