Lewisham restaurant offers meals to needy at Christmas

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Lewisham restaurant offers meals to needy at Christmas

While for some it's a chance to eat, drink and be merry, for others Christmas Day can be a difficult and lonely time.

Homeless charity Streets of London predict around 300 men, women and children will sleep rough each night over the festive season. For the past six years a business owner in Lewisham has been opening up his doors on December 25 to those in need.

Richard Simpson runs caribbean restaurant Cummin Up and plans to serve free meals on Christmas Day. 

"We're open seven days a week and we see street drinkers and homeless around us. We thought even if it's just for one day of the year, let's feed them," said Richard.

The restaurant and a handful of volunteers will be serving up a combination of traditional Christmas food and Caribbean cuisine.

"We're doing brussel sprouts, turkey, roast potatoes. Then we'll also have some rice and peas and jerk chicken. We prep for at least 150 people," said Richard. 

"We had one individual walk four miles from Streatham just to get here.

"Christmas Day is not about a profit. We have people coming in offering to pay for their food and we say 'today we're not collecting any money,'" said Richard. 

The south London businessman says he now wants to build on the enterprise by encouraging other restaurants in the community to reach out to those in need.

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