Edinburgh church to hold festive feast for 100 rough sleepers this Christmas

An Edinburgh church has teamed up with a homeless charity to host a festive feast for 100 rough sleepers who are facing Christmas on the city’s freezing streets.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 1:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 3:35 pm
Richard Roncero and Reverend Peter Sutton of St Cuthberts Church who are having a festive feast for 100 homeless people at the church this Sunday. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Parish Church of St Cuthbert’s and charity Steps to Hope have been providing twice-weekly dinners for homeless people for the past three months.

The groups teamed up again last weekend and provided a special Christmas dinner to bring some joy to homeless people in Edinburgh this winter.

The three-course feast, which included turkey, ham or chicken with all the trimmings, was served up at St Cuthbert’s church on Sunday.

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Staff and volunteers from Steps to Hope prepared the food which included everyone’s favourite festive treats.

Carol singers put on a special performance and volunteers – including members of the Princes Street Gardens church’s congregation – wearing Christmas hats served each guest a hot drink of their choice, a mince pie and a gift-wrapped chocolate selection box. Reverend Peter Sutton, said: “We are delighted to be able to serve our friends Christmas dinner.

“St Cuthbert’s has a long history of outreach work with the homeless in the west end of Edinburgh, going back to St Cuthbert’s poorhouse which was located opposite the Caledonian Railway Station which is now the Caledonian Hotel.

“We are continuing this work and it is nice to be able to bring together those who have no permanent home of their own for Christmas dinner.

“Gathering in a safe and secure environment and surrounded by people who genuinely care provides them with a sense of hope.

“Advent is often the time to open the windows and it’s really rewarding to open your doors too to those who need you most.”

“Jesus welcomed the stranger and provided hospitality and that is what we do too.”

After the meal, some rough sleepers had the option of staying at the Diadem care shelter, housed in the former Stenhouse St Aidan’s Parish Church building on Chesser Avenue.

The emergency accommodation project, which has 75 beds for men and women, is run by Bethany Christian Trust out of a building owned by Gorgie, Dalry, Stenhouse Church of Scotland. Founder of Steps to Hope Richard Roncero said: “We are blessed to be working alongside Peter and his colleagues at St Cuthbert’s.

“There are people suffering on the streets of Edinburgh and the meals we have provided have proved very popular.

“It was nice for people to come into a warm, welcoming place for a proper Christmas dinner this year.”