Birmingham New Street station is staging a Christmas Eve banquet for 350 homeless and vulnerable people.
Network Rail is teaming up with award-winning charity Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) to serve the three-course, sit-down meal on the station concourse.
While most people settle in to spend Christmas with family and loved ones, others face a lonely and bleak time.
Following the success of 2018, when 200 people enjoyed a festive party in the busiest UK railway station outside of London, New Street’s 2019 Christmas Eve banquet is back – and it promises to be bigger and better.
Pat Power, Birmingham New Street station manager, said: “Last year’s event made a real difference to those in the city who find themselves on the streets at Christmas, so we’re really proud to be bringing it back with the Midland Langar Seva Society with the help of local businesses.
“MLSS does great work nearly every night of the year across the Midlands and beyond, and it’s a pleasure to be able to once again host this special Christmas treat of a hot meal and a chance to unwind for a few hours out of the cold.”
The event will provide three courses of vegetarian food, non-alcoholic drinks, and entertainment in the form of a DJ, carol singers and Christmas gifts.
Randhir Singh, Midland Langar Seva Society co-founder, said: “Last year our service users enjoyed themselves that much, some even said it was one of their best Christmas meals, so all thanks to Network Rail for supporting us and allowing us to do the same this year.”
Last year’s event made headlines around the world on Christmas Day, including in India and Australia.
Midland Langar Seva Society is a charity based on the Sikh principle of ‘dasvand’, which involves giving 10% of your time and earnings to help those less fortunate.
Volunteers from Network Rail, the rail industry and Midland Langar Seva Society will work throughout the evening to cater for up to 350 people – 75% more than in 2018.
The food will be prepared by restaurant Spice Nation in Digbeth and the party is being organised by Monsoon Events.
Pav Shergill, managing director of Monsoon Venue Group, said: “It’s been extremely humbling to be able to collaborate with our suppliers to put an event for such a worthy cause for a second year running. As a small business owner from Birmingham I believe it’s really important to give back and support this event and the people it reaches.
“We are grateful to Network Rail for giving us the opportunity to put our services to good use and give the attendees a day of hope this Christmas.”
A section of the station concourse will be reserved for the event between 6.00pm and 9.30pm on December 24.
Any journalists wishing to cover the Christmas Eve meal must contact Network Rail media manager Chris Halpin on 0330 854 0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 3.00pm on Monday 23 December, as spaces for media will be limited.