To fend off the January blues, we want to share a recap of our fourth annual Boxing Day Lunch, which was filled with Christmas cheer!
On Boxing Day, the Oasis Cafe in Cruddas Park Shopping Centre generously opened their doors to more than 70 local residents who felt lonely, isolated or vulnerable at Christmas time.
As in previous years, the day was a great success. “Everybody seemed to arrive at once,” said cafe organiser Paul Gorringe, and it was the start of a busy but very merry afternoon. Nonetheless, our fantastic team of volunteers ensured everyone was served their meal on time; Lily, Michael and many other attendees praised the “excellent service” and the friendliness of the staff.
Early birds who arrived for breakfast were treated to croissants and Danish pastries, later followed by a three-course traditional Christmas dinner and rounded off with mince pies and hot drinks. Everyone left very full and commenting on how fantastic the food was! We were also impressed by the beautifully decorated tables, which made the occasion extra special, as so many attendees remarked on the change it made for them to have a proper sit-down meal. As they left, guests were also given a goody-bag full of treats such as biscuits to take away with them. Norman and Stephen told us that these were “a great surprise!”
One gentleman travelled from the East End of Newcastle to attend, and had been looking forward to the event for several months. He has now attended the event for a few years in a row, and is known among the staff for cracking jokes! He told organisers that he appreciates it as he misses being in lively company and rarely gets any visitors at home for Christmas day. Pat, who regularly stops by the Oasis cafe for a drink or snack, commented on how nice it was to see so many new faces there.
During the meal, Michael and Norman praised the event. “At Christmas time, a lot of people are lonely – people really need this”. “It makes our Christmas,” was a common refrain. Stephen added, “the company was much appreciated. I’m looking forward to next year!”- and so are we!
Many thanks to everyone who gave their time to help out on the day, particularly the cafe volunteers; to Bond Dickinson for their generous sponsorship of the event; and to The Sandwich Tree and Carole and Kevin Brown for their kind donations.