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Posted on 22 December 2020

Burnley Together to prepare and deliver 500 Christmas Eve meals

Burnley Together will prepare and deliver 800 cooked two-course Christmas dinners on Christmas Eve for the elderly and vulnerable living in the community.

This year has brought unprecedented challenges to everyone and there are many that will spend Christmas Day on their own or are not able to afford a meal for their family.

The 800 vital meals will be produced by Burnley Leisure’s hospitality chefs at the onsite kitchen facilities at Birchalls Foodservice, based at Burnley Bridge business park.

Experienced chefs and dedicated volunteers will cook, pack, and deliver a traditional Christmas dinner and Christmas pudding, complete with a festive cracker, to those in need of a nutritious, hot meal and some Christmas cheer.

The Burnley Together partners have worked in collaboration to identify local people that need this support over the Christmas period.

Mark Dempsey, hospitality general manager for Burnley Leisure, has taken the lead preparing the Christmas dinners and invited other neighbouring boroughs to participate.

“We are pleased to be delivering Christmas dinners to Pendle and Hyndburn as well as our own borough of Burnley,” he said. “With our hospitality venues closed due to Covid-19, our friends and partners at Birchall Foodservice offered their kitchen and the food at cost price.

“Once again, partnership working has enabled Burnley to rise to the challenge and make a real difference to the elderly and vulnerable living in East Lancashire.

Burnley Council leader Councillor Mark Townsend said: “This will help bring a little Christmas cheer to some of the most vulnerable people in our borough and neighbouring boroughs.

“It’s another example of the kind of support the Burnley Together community hub has been providing throughout this year and into 2021.”

Councillor Lian Pate, Burnley Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “This is what the Christmas spirit is all about! We’d like to thank Mark and the all the businesses that joined us in making a contribution.”

Philip Jones, Director of New Service for The Calico Group said: “We know there are many people who will spend Christmas on their own and families who are struggling. Our priority is to support those in need in our community and ensure no child, person or family goes without.

“Our hospitality industry has been under the toughest restrictions due to the pandemic and it’s amazing that even in a time that is so difficult for them, they are working to ensure that no one goes without a hot meal on Christmas Day.”

Louise Birchall, sales director for Birchall Foodservice, said: “As a family business, Birchall Foodservice is proud to have supported our local community in many ways throughout the pandemic, alongside Burnley Together and Burnley Leisure.”

Burnley Together Birchalls Xmas Dinner 2020
Front l-r Nicola Watson, operations director, Birchall Foodservice, and Councillor Lian Pate; rear l-r Councillor Mark Townsend and Mark Dempsey.