“All systems go” - Charity's struggle to find venue for Christmas event over

25th October 2019
Daniel Hickey, Great Yarmouth Mercury, reports

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Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth on Christmas Day 2018. Picture: Belinda Roll

A charity's struggle to find a venue for its traditional Christmas event is over
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Great Yarmouth Minster will host the traditional Open Christmas event this year. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Great Yarmouth Open Christmas meal, for homeless and vulnerable people in the borough, will be held this year at Great Yarmouth Minster

The annual Christmas Day gathering, which has run for 21 years and is organised wholly by volunteers with the help of donations, provides a free Christmas meal and festive cheer for people who would otherwise be on their own or have to go without on December 25

With the closure of the Marina Centre, which historically hosted the event, there had been concerns the charity might not be able to host its festive meal

And organisers had lined up a replacement venue but it fell through

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Open Christmas in Great Yarmouth on Christmas Day 2018. Picture: Belinda Roll

But discussions between the Open Christmas volunteers and representatives of both the Minster and Great Yarmouth Community Trust, which runs the Priory Centre next door, resulted in the new arrangement

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, and Town Hall porter Roger Smith is kindly volunteering his services, also free of charge

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

Belinda Roll, secretary of Great Yarmouth Open Christmas, said: "We are delighted to be hosting this year's event at the stunning Great Yarmouth Minster and are very grateful to all involved at the borough council, the Minster and the Priory Centre who helped to make this happen”

"Now that the venue is secured, it is all systems go to get everything in place"

The charity is appealing to the public and local businesses for donations of money and goods

The Rev Canon Simon Ward, of Great Yarmouth Minster, said: "The Minster is a place for everyone.  Therefore it feels like the most natural thing for our doors to be wide open for all on Christmas Day"

For more information, to register to volunteer or to donate, please visit


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