All welcome at free Christmas Day dinners across Northern Ireland

Some of the people enjoying a free Christmas dinner at Common Grounds Cafe, south Belfast, in 2015.
Some of the people enjoying a free Christmas dinner at Common Grounds Cafe, south Belfast, in 2015.

The organiser of a free community Christmas dinner in Whitehead says that everyone is welcome at their event on December 25 this year – even if they “have money in the bank”.

Noel McKee, from Whitehead Methodist Church, is one of dozens of people from across NI organising similar events on the Christmas Day.

“We have a wee band coming for entertainment and everyone is welcome,” Noel told the News Letter. “It is not just for those who might be homeless at this time of year. You are also welcome if you are too ill to cook or if you are a family who have just got to that stage of staring at each other on Christmas Day. If you have money in the bank you are still welcome, it doesn’t matter. It is about your mental health as much as anything else. For some people this is their only human contact for the day.”

The following are similar free dinner events on Christmas Day. Please call in advance to confirm times, availability of places and possible dietary and transport options.

• Whitehead Methodist Church, 2 Balmoral Ave, Carrickfergus BT38 9QA, tel 07926361201

• Common Grounds Café, 12-24 University Ave, Belfast BT7 1GY. tel 028 9023 8443

• Bengal Brasserie, 455 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 3GQ, tel 028 9064 7516

• Lurgan Bowling Pavilion, Lurgan Park, tel 07540118905

• The Hub, Cookstown, 14 Burn Rd, BT80 8DN, tel 02886 763398

• First Magherafelt Presbyterian Church, Meeting St, BT45 6BN, tel: 07895 973 956

• St MacNissi’s Parish Centre Station Rd, Randalstown, Antrim BT41 2AE 028 9447 2103

• Ardess Parish Church, The Fountain Centre, 58 Drumwhinney Road, Kesh, Co Fermanagh, BT93 1SD, tel 07871 754695 or 07921 399874

• Gateway Club, Newry, 20 Kilmorey St, BT34 2DE, tel 07783 671217

• An Riocht Gaelic club, 10 Dunaval Rd, Kilkeel, BT34 4JT, tel 028 417 63681

• Crossfire Trust, 95 Darkley Rd, Keady, Co Armagh BT60 3AY, tel 028 3753 1636

• Sitar Indian Restaurant, Carlingford Marina, Co. Louth, tel +353 42 934 9860

• The Salvation Army’ Belfast Temple community church is serving Christmas Day Dinner for people who may be on their own. Anyone who would like to come along should contact Major Keira Wood on 028 9045 4466. The community church is located on the Cregagh Road. Around 100 people including volunteers are expected to be there on the day for a three-course meal followed by entertainment.

• Age NI is also urging older people not to spend Christmas Day alone but to be its special guest.

“A local restaurant is holding a free Christmas Dinner on Christmas day for older people or older couples who would like some company,” a spokeswoman said. Tony & Jen’s, 727 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 7GUW is running the dinner from 12 noon-2:00 pm. The restaurant is footing the bill for a maxiumum of 30 people. If you would like to attend please contact Age NI Advice service on 0808 808 7575 for more details.