Christmas came early for a charity in Sheffield.
There might still be 216 days until December 25, but that did not stop St Wilfrid’s Centre for the homeless, vulnerable and socially excluded from hosting a celebration with a dose of festive fun.
A turkey dinner with all the trimmings was served up by staff at the Queens Road base – and even Santa Claus himself stopped by to say hello at the annual Christmas Day in May event.
Kevin Bradley, St Wilfrid’s director, said: “They say Christmas only comes once a year, but here we say why not have it twice? We had a great day with a good old sing-song and Father Christmas enjoyed himself.”
But behind the tinsel lies a serious message – the charity organises the day to give its clients a hot, nutritious meal and emphasise the importance of a balanced diet.
Many of the people are referred to St Wilfrid’s through GPs, charities and organisations and are unable to cook for themselves.
To tackle the problem the centre has launched a cookbook filled with simple, easy recipes.
Mr Bradley said: “Last year I was talking to one of our clients who had lived on his own for several years.
“He told me he had never once cooked a meal for himself because he didn’t know how to, had lived on takeaways and was overweight with various health problems.
“After a chat I encouraged him to join a cooking course at St Wilfrid’s and it is now a joy to see him leave with a recipe to try at home.
“This is much more common than people realise and one of the things which inspires us to teach people the basics of cooking and nutrition. The Christmas dinner shows how important a good meal is.”
The book is available from St Wilfrid’s. Proceeds go to its residential centre fund.