London’s Euston station has invited 200 homeless guests to have Christmas Day dinner at what is usually one of the UK’s busiest terminals when it is empty on December 25.
Network Rail, which runs the rail network and operates the station, has joined forces with charities Streets Kitchen and St Mungo’s to host the dinner, which will see the main concourse filled with decorations and tables laid for dinner.
Around 30 volunteers from Network Rail will give up their Christmas Day to work alongside volunteers from St Mungo’s, which provides beds and support to more than 2,700 people in England, and Streets Kitchen, which feeds 1,000 people on the streets every week.
Steve Naybour, head of transformation in Network Rail’s track team, who is leading the team running the event, said: “Thousands and thousands of my colleagues will already be working on Christmas Day to improve the railway for passengers.
“Working on Christmas Day is pretty much par for the course for many of us who work for Network Rail but this year, because I wasn’t scheduled to work, myself and a handful of colleagues came up with this plan to feed some of London’s homeless instead.
“St Mungo’s and Streets Kitchen have been fantastic. And I’m proud to say we’ve had lots of interest from Network Rail colleagues to volunteer to come along on the day to help out.”
Joe Hendry, Euston station manager, said: “Stations are at the heart of local communities and we want to provide a legacy through good relationships with organisations like St Mungo’s and Streets Kitchen that supports the homeless community in and around our station long after the buzz of Christmas has died down.”
Jon Glackin from Streets Kitchen, which is providing the food and service, said: “This is a shining example of local businesses, community groups and individuals coming together at Christmas in solidarity to assist others in need over Christmas.
“It’s fantastic to work with all the Network Rail team innovatively employing one of their prestigious stations to spread some festive cheer for our homeless community.
“This will be a fantastic fun day for our homeless friends that we will all hope could be replicated anywhere and everywhere.”
Beth Norden, community and events manager for St Mungo’s, said: “Many people become homeless because of relationship breakdowns so Christmas can be a particularly lonely time for some of our residents.
“Our thanks to Network Rail, their staff and volunteers, for helping some of our residents in Camden and neighbouring boroughs feel included in the community this Christmas Day.”
The initiative is also being supported by the British Transport Police and local and national suppliers including the Pret Foundation Trust, Blacks outdoor clothing, Virgin Trains and Abellio.