A thriving Berwick community café is laying on a Christmas Day treat for people lonely or in financial hardship – with the support of housing association Bernicia.
The Northern Soul Kitchen will throw open its doors on Christmas Day, offering a dinner with all the trimmings, or a cuppa and a listening ear.
People without a home, those without family or friends to call on, or without the money for their own Christmas Day lunch, are the specially invited guests at the ‘pay as you feel’ café.
Co-directors Millie Stanford and Harriet Grecian will be serving up the festive fare of unused food sourced from local supermarkets and shops.
The Christmas lunch will be extra special with all the trimmings thanks to a community grant from café landlord Bernicia.
Northern Soul Kitchen relies on donations to meet its running costs. Friends Millie and Harriet opened it six months ago based on the business model of customers paying what they feel their meal is worth.
Volunteers will work alongside Millie and Harriet on Christmas Day, serving customers when the café opens from 2pm.
“We’ve invited people who are financially disadvantaged or socially isolated, we want to combat homelessness as well, there’s a lot of homeless people around Berwick at the moment,” said Millie.
“We’re also opening for people who would not bother making themselves a Christmas lunch – it’s a lonely time to be by yourself.
“Bernicia’s help is awesome. It makes a world of difference. It relieves that unknown for us, it’s nice to know that we’ll be able to do this well and with a few added extras to make it feel special.
“When people come in we don’t want people to feel that we are scrimping – we want it to feel abundant and cosy and this support will mean we can do that, to make it feel like a home away from home.
“We’ll have Christmas lunch available, or if you just want a bowl of soup you can have that.
“It’s up to you. We’re also open for people to use it as a warm hub, to have a cuppa and a mince pie and use it to have a chat and just chill.”
The Northern Soul Kitchen has chefs from Newcastle and Edinburgh giving their time free of charge to cook up tasty dishes ranging from fish tacos and steaks, through to fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies.
Bernicia’s chief executive, John Johnston, said: “It’s our pleasure to be able to support Northern Soul Kitchen with their Christmas Day lunch which will bring a lot of cheer to a lot of people.
“The community café has made a real, positive impact in the Berwick community in a short space of time, and this event will continue their support helping people who are facing a tough time this Christmas.”
For more details of the Christmas lunch, go to https://www.northernsoulkitchen.co.uk/ or call into the café at 19 West Street Berwick, Wednesday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm.