Birmingham New Street station’s highly successful Christmas Eve meal for the city’s homeless is returning once again as a take-out service.
For the fourth year running Network Rail is teaming up with award-winning Sikh charity Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) to provide hot food and festive cheer for those who are struggling in the city centre this Christmas.
A three-course festive vegetarian meal, gifts and entertainment for up to 250 people will be provided on the station’s eastern plaza by the taxi rank.
Birmingham-based charity the Community Relief Foundation (CRF) will also provide hot drinks on the night.
To control the spread of coronavirus, this year’s event will once again be outside of the station with a queuing system in place.
Steven Ireland, head of stations and security for Network Rail’s Central route, said: “We’re really excited to be back hosting what’s becoming a firm fixture for us in the festive calendar, our Christmas Eve meal in conjunction with the Midland Langar Seva Society.
“While we had hoped to be back on the concourse inside in the warm, the changing Covid-19 situation means the safest and surest way to make sure the event goes ahead is to follow our tried and tested take-away plan from last year. We can’t wait to see people again and spread some festive cheer for those struggling on the streets this Christmas.”
Parmjit Singh, Midland Langar Seva Society co-founder, said: “It’s great to be back working with Network Rail and local businesses which have made donations for this year’s Christmas Eve meal at the station. It really is a highlight for people who find themselves living on the streets in the city at what can be a very tough time for them. We’re determined to give them a Christmas to remember with carols, food and friendly faces – and even presents from Santa.”
While most people settle in to spend Christmas with family and loved ones, others can face a lonely and bleak time.
Many people have found themselves struggling as a result of the pandemic and needing extra support through charities like MLSS and CRF.
Their volunteers along with Network Rail staff will work throughout the evening to cater for up to 250 people on the station’s eastern plaza between 6-9pm.
Any journalists wishing to cover the Christmas Eve meal must contact Chris Halpin on 07740 782954 or [email protected] by no later than 3.00pm on Thursday 23 December, as spaces for media will be limited.
Photo credit: Network Rail