11 January 2022

Fareham Christmas Day Lunch 2021

Every year for over 11 years, Fareham Christmas Day Lunch has been held on Christmas Day for anyone in Fareham who has found themselves alone at Christmas, but we couldn’t bring people together last year.  Sadly, most of us were also unable to spend last Christmas with our loved ones due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions; and many of us may have therefore experienced feelings isolation or loneliness as a result.  But with your support we made this year amazing for our specially invited guests!

“It was beautiful – I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Everything was just lovely. Please God can I come next year?!” – Kathleen

After starting to contact local older isolated people in September, 66 people were found who were going to be on their own over Christmas and wanted to join us for Christmas Day Lunch at St John’s Church Hall in Fareham.The looming threat of Covid Omicron nearly cancelled our plans, with the decision to go ahead was only made on Monday 20th December. The role of chef changed hands only two weeks before Christmas because the first chef broke his arm. Geoff stepped in to help and did an amazing job, aided by a college sixth student Boe from Portsmouth College, and two volunteers Hilary and Claire. With all the positive reviews from our visitors on the day, they could start their own Trip Advisor.

On Christmas Eve, volunteers descended on the church hall and transformed it ,setting up the tables, putting up decorations and preparing the gifts and raffle prizes, ready for welcoming the guests on Christmas Day. We had four minibus drivers (Gillian, Rich, Jon, and Pete) volunteer their time to drive four Community First minibuses to pick up guests on the day, going the full distance by dressing up as Santa with Elf helpers as well.

“I had a fantastic time. I really did enjoy it. It was something to look forward to. The food was lovely – large portions. I can’t thank you enough. It’s one special day in my year.” – Tina

The day saw 54 guests attend with 38 volunteers. The guests were given a hot drink when they arrived, followed by a three course Christmas Lunch. Geoff had made a tasty roasted vegetable soup, then turkey and all the trimmings, then a choice of Christmas pudding or home made apple crumble for dessert. All dietary requirements were catered for (gluten and lactose free, vegetarian and vegan). Wine and soft drinks were served throughout the meal then tea and coffee.

“One of the best we’ve been to. Was more organised, and the seating plan worked. They took our coats straight away and the meal was excellent. What a good afternoon. The cooking was lovely. Singing behind masks was a bit weird, let’s hope we don’t have to do it next year.” – Brian and Georgina

Music was provided by Ian who played during the meal and afterwards. To extend the greatness of the day, each guest was also given a bag containing a take home tea and a present as they left in their minibuses. The lunch ended with a quiz and a raffle with 79 prizes. This raffle and guest donations raised £422.94 which will be used to make next year’s Christmas Day Lunch as good or better than this one.There is a lot of people to thank for making this lunch possible, including donations of money and gifts from local authorities, Fareham Shopping Centre, One Community, Home Instead, Masons, individuals, and local shops (inc TKMAXX staff). Jackie (Wellbeing Manager) arranged with Ellie (Youth volunteer) for local pupils at Crofton School to wrap some of the presents on 15th December.

An additional thank you goes to Matthew Carroll who volunteered to take photos on the day, so we can properly document and remember the day.

We hope we can have even more people next year! Fancy giving back? You can still donate to this year’s.

View the full album of photos on our Facebook.

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