Foodbank families served festive feast by award-winning chef

Eileen Inglis and Colin Hinds who are laying on Christmas dinner for homeless people at Circus Bistro on St Mary Street Picture: Greg Macvean
Eileen Inglis and Colin Hinds who are laying on Christmas dinner for homeless people at Circus Bistro on St Mary Street Picture: Greg Macvean
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FAMILIES across the Capital used to relying on foodbanks to make ends meet will once again be treated to turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings this Christmas – thanks to a big-hearted volunteer.

Eileen Inglis is set to give up her own special day once again to assist the needs of others and is planning to treat around 100 people to a tasty festive feast.

The mum, from Cannonmills, has teamed up with award-winning chef Colin Hinds, owner of the Kilted Lobster in Stockbridge, after their success last year.

Along with dozens of volunteers from across the country, the pair hosted a prestigious three-course meal at the Circus Cafe Bistro and fed more than 60 people.

City Cabs provided transport for the families attending and have agreed to carry out the good deed again this year.

Eileen came up with the idea of a group Christmas dinner after visiting a number of foodbanks across the city.

She said: “Last year was such a success we decided to do it again.

“Seeing the look on the families’ faces on Christmas day was lovely, we just want to normalise their day as much as possible and give them an experience.”

Eileen, who works for UnLtd – helping people set up their own social enterprises – told how her job gave her inspiration to do something special.

She added: “Before I came up with the idea of a dinner last year, I’d always wanted to help out those who needed it on Christmas day but I just didn’t know what to do.

“I’ve spent over ten years supporting others to do things that were addressing social issues and thought it was about time I did something myself.

“I’m interested in food, creating nice spaces for people and bringing people together to address social isolation.

“I often find the whole commercial side of Christmas day a bit stressful, and wondered if others felt the same.

“It can be a really difficult time, so by doing this we hope we take the strain away from those families who rely on foodbanks to make ends meet.”

Eileen has received a number of donations from the public and the Edinburgh Junk Food project to help with her plans.

She also set up a Just Giving page which has enabled her to buy a supermarket voucher for every family attending.

Ewan Walker, operations manager of seven food banks in the Capital, praised Eileen’s actions.

He said: “It is wonderful that Eileen has decided to give her time to repeat the free Christmas meal at the Circus Cafe Bistro this year.

“We are grateful she has visited our foodbank centres to invite those being referred to us.

“Half of the 7555 referred to us last year were single and Christmas can be a lonely time for this group of society who have no family with whom to spend time.”

Les McVay, owner of City Cabs said: “City Cabs are happy to play a small part in this event.

“The true spirit of Christmas is often lost.

“It should be about people being together, and it’s a privilege to be able to help out on this special occasion.”