Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Nichola Mallon, today welcomed 80 homeless people from across Belfast along to City Hall to enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.
Councillor Mallon joined together with a variety of charities and organisations who work with homeless people, to put on the Christmas lunch for those who are facing Christmas alone or on the streets.
The guests who were from, Queens Quarter Housing, DePaul, Homeplus, Welcome Organisation, Extern, Salvation Army, Simon Community, Carlisle House, Regina Coeli, Morning Star House, Rosemount Hostel, Thompson House, Oaklee Trinity and East Belfast Mission, attended the three course lunch where they also received Christmas presents and a take home sweetie treat, donated by the NI Housing Executive and enjoyed music by Salvation Army band.
The lunch was provided for free by the catering company Posh Nosh Ireland and waiting staff came in the form of volunteers from the charities and organisations involved, as well as staff from Belfast City Council.
Speaking at the event, the Lord Mayor said: “I’m so pleased to come together with organisations and charities who work so hard all year round in their plight to tackle homelessness on our streets and be able to provide what we hope is a really enjoyable afternoon for our guests.
“It’s important to remember that at Christmas, while we are at home with our family and friends, it’s very different for those who are alone or without a roof over their heads. Throughout my term in office I have worked to highlight the issues faced by what I term ‘our forgotten citizens’, people who are on the margins of our society.
Councillor Mallon continued: “Nobody should have to face long term homelessness and it is vital that homeless services have the capacity to reach out and be responsive to the needs of those who, for a variety of reasons and circumstances, are in need of help and support. The acid test of a society is how it cares for its most vulnerable members and I never cease to be amazed by the compassion and generosity of people and organisations right across Belfast”.
Organisers also ensured that no food was wasted as guests were able to bring home leftovers in the council’s ‘Take Home Boxes’.