Christmas 2020 was incredible after such a difficult year! Even through a takeaway and Tier 4 restrictions, we were still able to bring that little bit of hope and joy in a season and a city that needed it. 108 guests came through the takeaway on Christmas day at Matthew’s House. Two of those people were a couple who we have known for quite a while. They have a lot of vulnerabilities, difficulties with family and tough times in their lives. They have grown to trust us as we have got to know them over the years. They were with us in Christmas 2018 and 2019 as well. The number of guests for Christmas lunch has grown each year with 50+ in 2017 60+ in 2018 and over 70 last year. Each year we try to make it a little bit better and a little more special. The last couple of years we have been doing polaroid photos where guests are given the opportunity to have their photo taken, perhaps with others, and get to take it home as a nice souvenir of a happy moment. It’s been one of the things that The Hill Church helps with on Christmas Day. We have had such great feedback from this. Guests love it and some have still kept their photos from three years ago!

Two guests came to Matthew’s House on Christmas Day. They were really glad that we were open but thought that it probably wasn’t going to be the same this year. When they heard, as we were welcoming them in, that we were doing polariods by the Christmas tree and that they could have their picture taken in their household group, they just lit up. As they did, the gentleman quickly went to get his keys out of his pocket and said, “Look, I want to show you this!” He pulled out a bunch of keys with a single, personalised key ring, into which he had put his two treasured polaroid pictures from previous Christmases. This was such a touching moment for the volunteers. It shows that good times like this, happy memories, really matter. One volunteer said … “on my keyring I have a photo of my wife and son, to remind me of them. This guest had kept his polaroid snaps from each Christmas day he had spent at Matthew’s House, enjoying a hot meal and friendship with others. To make it on to his keyring must mean these polaroids are truly special to him.” We love being part of these special moments, providing good food and friendship, and capturing joy in our polaroid snaps at Christmas.