Charity cooks up festive cheer for vulnerable

FESTIVE cheer was the main course on offer to the homeless, vulnerable and lonely over Christmas, thanks to a dedicated army of volunteers.

Surviving Christmas served hundreds of meals at the YMCA in St Paul’s Road on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and on Friday (December 27) at its annual three-day open event.

A doctor was available to give free check-ups for visitors and hairdressers from Sussex Coast College and other firms offered free hair cuts.

Members of St John Ambulance were also present and visitors were kept entertained by live music from singers.

Children from St Mary Magdalene School in Bexhill provided scores of festive pictures to Surviving Christmas which decorated the YMCA.

Other services included a reflexologist.

Cllr Lee Clark, councillor for Castle Ward, ran a surgery for visitors who came on Friday.

Simon Hewish, project co-ordinator for Surviving Christmas, said: “We served 164 meals alone on Christmas Day, which was more than the number in 2012, and 106 on Boxing Day.

“We don’t know why there has been an increase but suspect it’s maybe to do with a lot more people being hit by the welfare reforms and a rise in the number of lonely people.”

The charity also distributed more than 400 Christmas hampers full of food to poor and hard-up families across 1066 Country.

Mr Hewish said: “We would like to thank Adam Newington, our ex-Army chef, together with his team, who cooked all the meals for our guests, and we would like to thank all of our volunteers for their help and support.”