Many homeless and vulnerable people lined Newcastle Trafalgar Street to enjoy a Christmas street party hosted by People’s Kitchen.
The event saw the People’s Kitchen volunteers joined by their ‘friends’ to enjoy a hot meal, some festive music and an appearance from the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Coun Ian Graham and Mrs Margaret Graham.
People’s Kitchen also celebrated their 30th anniversary with a large homemade cake, shared with the city homeless and vulnerable people.
The evening brought smiles and Christmas cheer to everyone’s faces as they sang along to Christmas carols on the projector and enjoyed the appearance of a jazz band.
Chairman of People’s Kitchen Newcastle Bob Eldridge said: “The Christmas street party is a way of showing our friends how much we care, and, most importantly, it’s helping them to get some sort of normality into their lives.
“Everyone is celebrating Christmas but for many it’s just another day. The party lets our friends escape their environment for a few hours and gives them the opportunity to join in Christmas like everyone else.”
The People’s Kitchen provides the homeless and vulnerable people of Newcastle with food served in the kitchen on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and on the streets on Mondays and Thursdays – a breakfast is also served on Sundays.
Some friends of the charity shared their stories, such as Steve, 48, who is a freegan on the streets of Newcastle.
He said: “Everything I own and have on me right now I did not pay a penny for. I raid the bins and streets of Newcastle to provide for myself and I find the students are very good to me.”
The charity’s efforts were recognised at the highest level in 2014, when they were presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Mr Eldridge added: “The Kitchen relies 100 per cent on donations of food and money. No one is on a payroll – everyone is a volunteer and there is no government funding.
“More than 1,100 local sources donate money and food every year and every donation, large or small, matters and is put to good use.”