Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham New Street Christmas meal for homeless people

Ian Cochrane and Courtney Taylor
Image caption Ian Cochrane and Courtney Taylor went to the event with family and friends

A Christmas Eve banquet has been laid on at Birmingham's New Street station for hundreds of homeless people.

The three-course festive feast was served on the station concourse, along with entertainment from carol singers.

Niah Blake, who has been homeless for five years, said "This is our Christmas. This is the only one we're going to get."

Network Rail teamed up with Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) to feed 350 homeless and vulnerable people.

Volunteers from the Walsall-based charity, which follows a Sikh principle of helping and supporting people regardless of social status fed 200 people at the station last year.

Image caption Niah Blake said he was enjoying the food, drink and atmosphere
Image caption Three courses were served on the station's concourse

They began serving the vegetarian meal along with non-alcoholic drinks from about 18:00 GMT.

"It's good and loud and how it's supposed to be," said Ian Cochrane, 33, who has mental health issues and has been homeless since he was 15.

"We're all together and I know about 90% of the people here."

Image caption The food was donated and served by volunteers

Mr Cochrane's partner, Courtney Taylor, 19, from Redditch, said she had been given a leaflet about the event by the charity and wanted to come.

"It's different, but nice," she said.

"We thought it would be a good thing to come to with everyone and glad we have."

Image caption Diners were entertained by a DJ, musicians and a choir

Randhir Singh, MLSS co-founder, said the group wanted to show people love and support and the event was "not just about serving food".

He said he was sad that Kane Walker was not at this year's event after his death in Birmingham city centre in January.

"When he was here last year, he said to me that it was the best night of his life.

"It's important that you show that you care"

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites