13th January 2020

CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE METHODIST CENTRAL HALL 2019

 

All photos provided by professional photographer Atul Patel  (more photos can be viewed in our gallery)
 

Narrative provided by Matt Cattell & Sophie Greener our two Lead Co-ordinators on the day.

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Once again the Cyrenians held their annual Christmas Day event at the Methodist Central Hall in Coventry. Myself and Sophie were Lead coordinators and we were honoured to be asked to take on these roles. The day was a success with over 130 guests signing in to enjoy a 2 course meal, live entertainment and access to the donation room for necessities such as toiletries and clothes, plus gifts. 

 

 

The volunteers on the day were absolutely fantastic, helping us to run many of the tasks smoothly including the donation room and the serving of the meals to guests in the main room. A special mention must go to the volunteers in the kitchen who cooked all  of the dinners and puddings to perfection and all served on time. And a thank you also to all of the entertainers who gave up their time on the day to perform for the guests, they were all brilliant and to Thomas and David too for doing the sound. 

It was one of the best Christmas Day events I've been involved in so far and Sophie and I couldn't have done it without the help from all of the amazing volunteers, the staff that helped with the load in and out and of course Jo and Jack who spent months planning this event. A huge thank you to you all.  I'm looking forward to the 2020 event and seeing if we can make it even better. Matt Cattell. 

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Christmas Day 2019 was my favourite Christmas yet! I co-lead the day with Matt Cattell. This role is challenging and often requires us to think on our feet; you never know what could happen! But it’s extremely rewarding and makes my Christmas Day filled with as much joy and love as I could ask for.

Here are a few of my highlights to give you a taste of the day…

The volunteers:
I can’t credit the 2019 team’s energy and efficiency enough! Everyone got stuck in to the hands-on setting up to transform the hall before the guests arrived. The building had lots going on! The technicians were hard at work setting up the sounding and stage area, the chefs busy chopping, roasting and slicing and volunteers arranging tables, decorations and gifts. The attention to detail in the dining hall this year was wonderful. Each individual seating area had been carefully prepared. It was fit for a banquet! To allow for this, communication and teamwork between the different rooms was key. Boy did they deliver this year!

The entertainment:
I must commend Matt Cattell for the wonderful entertainment he lined up this year. Using his background and expertise in the trade, he brought in a mix of performers who began their shows from 11am as guests arrived. My favourite was Alex with his guitar. He was dressed as Santa, and went down particularly well with the ladies! He also treated us to his own rendition of Happy Birthday, as he invited the room to join in to sing to the five people in the room who were also celebrating their birthday that day. Just lovely!

The guests:
Coordinating the volunteers is a busy job, and in previous years I have made the mistake of not prioritising enough time to be with our valued guests. It’s our volunteers’ job to create a special day for our guests, and so I can’t improve on this without hearing from them myself. This year, I blocked out time to sit on each table. This was a real highlight for me. Handing out gifts and serving dinner to our guests is one thing, but connecting and socialising with them is on another level. It was a pleasure to hear their stories, speak about Christmas and of course, share plenty of terrible crackers jokes! Those that I spoke to shared such humble gratitude, but I hope that they took the same from me. I always say that I get as much from them on Christmas Day as they do from me. It’s an honour to share such a special day with the Cyrenaics family (guests and volunteers) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wow, what a year. Here’s to Christmas 2020! Sophie Greener

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Entertainment provided by: Rich Keogh, Sheridan French, Caitlyn McGlynn, Alex Norman, Christopher Sidwell, Deacon Sheila Dawson, Thomas & David Scarsbrook.

Special thanks go to:

 

Feedback from some of our guests:

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“Staff absolutely fantastic – Christmas dinner was perfect, for what you’ve done I am very grateful, everyone deserves a medal”.

“It was unexpected as it was the first time we heard about this charity from the CAB and recently lost our mum and pet dog Keira and didn’t know how we were going to cope without them. Everyone was treated well and welcomed to a friendly gathering and a lovely meal as well”.

“Thanks for the entertainment which helped brighten up the day and meeting people from different backgrounds, and for all the effort that went into arranging everything”.

“It was a great day, the lunch and company was the best”.

“Thank you so much, I live alone and don’t have a cooker and can’t cook”.

“Very friendly, all happiness, warm kindness & thoughtfulness”.

“It was amazing, presents and the food was beautiful, the Santa Man and 2 girls were brilliant”.

“Really enjoyed the food, lovely pleasant people serving”.

“It was brilliant, everything, the meal and the music”.

“Good Christmas gathering with lots of good people giving up their time to make other people’s Christmas a more pleasant one”.

“Perfect 100% - love the tables, people are not crushed together, Chris is a lovely lady”.

“Excellent atmosphere, meal, entertainment and meeting friends.  In the clothes room we were greeted and given excellent personal service, good structure”.

 

Feedback from some of the volunteers:

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“Best event ever, the best part was volunteers working as a team in the kitchen”.

“It was perfect, interacting with people”.

“Good atmosphere & entertainment for the guests”.

“The best part was working one to one with each guest helping them to choose their toiletries”.

“Matt was really warm and had a genuine manner with the guests”.

“A positive and friendly environment with a welcoming team spirit.  The system for the donations room was excellent, organised, friendly & fair”.

“A really calm and caring environment – a lot of personal attention given to the guests”.

“Thank you for having me on board as a volunteer, I loved it and it was heart-warming, an amazing event”.

“As always, very well organised, lovely group of people, helped out in the present room – always a pleasure”.

“The best part was working on reception making people feel less invisable.  It is now a well-recognised annual event in the City – very much a worthwhile initiative”.

“Enjoyed the day very much, seeing every one have a nice time.  Matt & Sophie are very good Co-ordinators”.