A MAN who spent years, as a teenager, homeless on the streets of Manchester is spearheading Christmas Day dinner parties across Liverpool for more than 1,000 people with nowehere to go.
Businessman Simon Whitter, who last year took it upon himself to cook Christmas dinner for 100 homeless people at the Courtroom Cafe in Victoria Street, has teamed up with Liverpool Homeless Football Club, Voice in the City, the Whitechapel Centre and the city council to bring some brief cheer to vulnerable people on December 25.
Dingle's Florrie will open its doors, alongside community centres and church halls across the city under the banner of Yummy Scouse Christmas. People who attend will get a three course meal along with entertainment. More than 100 volunteers will be working on the project in the run up to Christmas.
Using the slogan ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’, Mr Whitter's organisation, Neva 2 Latte, aims to build on last year's success.
He says: “Having been brought up in Manchester, I would like to say that the kindness, warmth and generosity shown by the people of Liverpool never ceases to amaze me.
“I relish the task ahead and love the thought of bringing this wonderful city even closer together. My aim is that nobody should feel alone this Christmas and I look forward to seeing this carried out with the help of both the businesses and people of Liverpool."
John Finnigan, chief executive of Liverpool Homeless Football Club, said: “Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time for family's and friends. Unfortunately there are lots of people in our community who are isolated and lonely at this time of year.
“Yummy's Scouse Christmas hope to alleviate loneliness this year, working across the city we will be providing 1,000 Christmas dinners to the most vulnerable in our community's.
“If you are alone or know someone who would like to join us for a Christmas dinner an a good time contact us for your nearest venue - don't eat alone this Christmas day."
Meanwhile, the Titanic Hotel's rum warehouse will once again host 500 guests who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day.
White Christmas Liverpool, hosted by a team of volunteers, was under threat last year when funding problems meant it had to leave its previous venue, St George’s Hall. But the Titanic stepped in to save the day by donating its Rum Warehouse to hold a party for 500, and the hotel has repeated its offer this year.
Guests come to the event mostly through GP surgeries and health centres, pharmacies, community teams and just via word of mouth.