London’s Euston Station is hosting a full Christmas lunch for 200 homeless people today as public spaces nationwide open their doors to those in need.
Volunteers worked overnight after the last train left on Christmas Eve, transforming the station concourse with decorations and tables.
The first guests arrived at 11am for food, company and goody bags of presents, clothes and toiletries.
Gyms and theatres across the country are also opening to the homeless today.
In Euston, around 45 volunteers from Network Rail turned out alongside charities St Mungo’s and Street Kitchen to provide ‘some festive cheer’.
Volunteers prepping the four-course meal of smoked salmon, soup, a festive roast and Christmas pudding have been tweeting their efforts using the #EustonChristmas hashtag.
Steve Naybour, a Network Rail engineer who helped come up with the idea, said the 200 guests would have a ‘great feast’ at what is normally the UK’s fifth-busiest rail station.
‘We’re going to give them the best day that they probably didn’t expect a few days ago,’ he told the BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42477120
He was one of four employees at Network Rail who suggested Euston be turned into a shelter for the day.
‘It’s amazing to see the concourse looking so festive, which would normally be packed with commuters.’
Nearly 50 different businesses and organisations have donated items including food, drinks and thermal clothes, to the event.
Mr Naybour, who goes back to work on Boxing Day, said he had been ‘blown away’ by the generosity, adding: ‘We’ve got a whole department store of clothes we’re waiting to give out.’
Two hundred children from schools in the local area have made Christmas cards to give to the guests, while local kitchens have opened up to help volunteers prepare the four-course meal.
Beth Nordon, community and events manager for St Mungo’s, said: ‘Many people become homeless because of relationship breakdowns so Christmas can be a particularly lonely time for some of our residents.’
For millions of Brits, the prospect of homelessness is terrifyingly close.
One man who never imagined he would end up in a homeless shelter recently told Metro.co.uk what it feels like to very suddenly find yourself out on the streets.
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