Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth appeals for gifts  


The Great Yarmouth Open Christmas meal, for homeless and vulnerable people in the town, will be held at the Minster. Organisers are appealing for people to donate presents for the guests

The event has been running for 21 years and is organised by volunteers with the help of donations. It always takes place on Christmas day and includes a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, entertainment, and transport for those who need it. Organisers plan to have wrapped gifts on the table so that everybody attending receives a present

Committed volunteer, Christine, is contacting local businesses to ask if their staff would like to get involved in donating items by running a charity ‘secret Santa’ in their workplaces. They are particularly looking for items for presents – for men, women, and children – and nothing to cost more than £5

Christine has seen first-hand the impact Open Christmas has on the guests who attend. She spoke about a couple who came to Open Christmas last year who had been sleeping under the pier on Great Yarmouth beach, living on the fish they caught there. Open Christmas volunteers befriended them and supported them. Christine said “They now live in an apartment in the town and the man has a job. Others who come are elderly and would otherwise be on their own. Families also come who just cannot afford to prepare a Christmas dinner”

Christine attends Stalham Church, who are donating half of the proceeds of their carol concert to Open Christmas

There is a lot of goodwill in the town and support for the event. The Open Christmas volunteers will cook the meals in the kitchen at the Priory Centre and host the event in the northern aisle of the Minster. The council is supplying equipment including chairs and tables

The drop-in event will take place between 11.30am and 3pm, with Christmas lunch served for about 400 people between 12.30pm and 2pm
Get involved

If you would like to donate presents for the guests of Open Christmas, they can be dropped off at the Town Hall, the Priory Centre, or the Minster marked ‘Open Christmas’

There is also the opportunity to volunteer and to donate financially. Click here to find out more

this article first appeared on Network East Norfolk