The history of the Christmas Project

Christmas 2013
The Christmas Project started in 2013 when Kevin, our managing director opened his home and invited seven guests to join him for a three course traditional Christmas Day Lunch. The guests were chosen based on strict criteria,primarily that they must either be facing Christmas Day alone or be an impoverished family. 
All of the food for the day was donated by friends, members of the Facebook Group (Derby Gift Recycle and Free) and Bembridge Convenience Store, Alvaston, Derby.
The first guest invited as Drew who had suddenly lost his mum on the 22nd December. He was planning to spend Christmas Day with his mum, the only family member he had. Kevin heard about Drew's plight from a freind of Drew's on Facebook (see more of Drew's story here)
Also invited were the Nicholson family, Julie, Jack and their three children. Jack was a skilled carpenter but in October 2013 was made reduntant, throwing all the families Christmas plans into the bin. Again through Facebook Kevin heard about the families plight and first on the list was to deliver a food parcel along with invites for the whole family. Jack being a proud man, initially refused both but after a chat and a cup of coffee, and pleas from his family re accepted both (see more the families story here)
The final guest to be invited was Phil. On Christmas Eve Drew rang Kevin, told him about Phil and his story. Without hesitation Phil was invited to join the others and due to a lack of space at Kevin's flat no further guests were invited.

In addition to the Lunch a buffet tea was available but all guests ate too lunch so were 'sent home' with rather large 'doggy bags' for Boxing Day.
See some photos from the day here

Boxing Day 2013

With plenty of food left over from Christmas Day and more donations arriving by the hour Kevin made a buffet and invited all of his friends and the people who  had donated to come and join him to finish off the food and have a chat, a laugh and a drink or two. It was a 'bring a bottle party' which turned out to be a fantastic night. The surplus food was donated to Street Safe, a group from Derby who feed the homeless, via their 'street kitchen', three nights a week
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New Year's Eve 2013

New Year's Eve,  another time not be alone. Thanks to the generosity of  Bembridge Convenience Store, who donated all the food and drink Kevin hosted a NYE party at his home with selected guests, who enjoyed a buffet, drinks, some company and together they welcomed in the New Year. Surplus food was donated to a local group who feed the homeless.
2014

The Birth of Derby in Need

In January Kevin, now our Managing Director, created a Facebook Group - Derby in Need and with a group of committee members set the path for 2014 with three goals known as our ‘Christmas Project’.

All events were to be arranged and paid for through fundraising events and donations received.
The Christmas Project begins
Starting with nothing, plans were made for three events and also for fundraising events to cover costs. Part of the planning process was to find suitable venues for the events, who had an understanding and shared our goals. When we sat back we realised we had a daunting task ahead of us, but through hard work and determination we achieved our goals, which included:

 1 - Pre - Christmas Family Meal

We invited 52 guests to join us at the Blue Peter in Alvaston on Saturday 13th December.

All guests received a free 3 course meal and Santa joined us to hand out presents donated by friends and local businesses.

​2 - Christmas Day Lunch 

The Lunch was held at an OAP complex in Normanton, Derby on Christmas Day 25th December. 63 invited guests attended and were served a 3 course traditional Christmas Lunch with the help of volunteer cooks and committee members as serving staff.

​3 - Family New Year’s Eve Party 

This event was hosted at Chellaston Working Men's Club in Chellaston, Derby with 28 guests all of whom enjoyed a free buffet, disco, fun and games plus a free taxi home. All the food was donated by local businesses and the disco was donated 'free of charge to a good cause' by a local DJ (who wishes to remain anonymous).

All three events costing £512 were paid for via fundraising events, kindly hosted by the

102 Club in Derby throughout the year and donations received from group members along with local businesses including The Waterfall who donated the food for the 3 course Christmas Day meal, Bembridge Convenience Store donated the treats, mince pies, Christmas cake, chocolates and some gifts, whilst the the residents of the OAP complex rallied to obtain gifts for Santa to distribute on Christmas Day.
All events were free for our invited guests.

2015
 

Following the success of our earlier events and having proven the need for what we do our plans for our ‘Christmas Project’ expanded to include:
Family pre-Christmas 3 Course Lunch 

Hosted at The Waterfall in Derby, we invited 102 people to join us.

Santa also came along to hand out hundreds of presents collected and donated by local businesses.
The cost of the meal was paid for by a donation from Osmaston Mens Social Club and a local darts league who also set up collections for donation sites for gifts for the day.​
Christmas Day Lunch for the Elderly, Lonely and Needy Families

The venue for the meal was the MECA Hall in Mackworth, Derby and 72 guests joined us and were cooked a 4 course Christmas Lunch with presents passed on by Santa and he lead us in playing silly games and a short Carol Service. 
All presents and prizes were kindly donated by local businesses, collected by the Darts League and the use of the hall was donated free of charge.
The food for meal was donated by The Waterfall, Derby and was cooked by a group of volunteers, who had never met until the day and without them all doing a brilliant job the event wouldn't have been the success it was.
Surplus food was donated to StreetSafe, a local volunteer group that feed the homeless from a 'street kitchen'.
Family New Year’s Eve Party
83 invited guests joined us for an evening of fun and games, buffet, disco and a traditional welcoming in of the New Year.
The venue for the party was The 102 Club in Derby who kindly donated the room with the buffet and disco being paid for by a kind donation from the 102 Club Fishing Club.
In total we spent over £2000 on the three events and we would like to say Thank You to the following:
The entire cost, £1000, for the  Family pre-Christmas 3 Course Lunch was donated by Osmaston Mens Social Club and

The Tuesday Pub & Club Darts League.
Presents for the kiddies at the Family meal were donated by a Finance Director and staff at an international engineering company based in Derby, all of whom wish to remain anonymous.
£250 was donated by The 102 Club Fishing Club.
Food for Christmas Day was donated by the owners of The Waterfall, Railway Terrace, Derby.
Drinks for Christmas Day were donated by Bembridge Drive Convenience Store
Use of the hall for Christmas Day was donated by Mackworth Estate Community Association (MECA)
£852 was also spent on hiring catering equipment and crockery for Christmas Day.
Presents for the adult guests on Christmas Day were donated and collected by members of the Tuesday Pub & Club Darts League.
The 102 Club donated the free use of their function room for the NYE party and fundraising events throughout the year.
Without the support and generosity of the businesses and groups mentioned above these events would not have taken place and many people would have not received the Christmas cheer they did.

to be continued.......