By Becca Husselbee
A cafe owner has opened up her business for the last three years of Christmas day to offer a free party to those who are lonely or have no where to go.
Kirsten Howe, 31, from Kenilworth, Warwickshire, decided to open the cafe back in 2015, offering visitors a free Christmas dinner as well as the chance to play some games and sing along to some well loved Christmas songs.
Kirsten, the owner of Alexa Lauren Patisserie, was inspired to offer the service as a way of making those who are without friends and family during the festive period feel included in the spirit of Christmas.
She said: “I knew the space was available and empty during Christmas and I felt so bad knowing there were people who had no where to go because they may have no friends around or family who are close by.
“We get around six to seven people every year but we have definitely advertised a lot more this year as the space holds 30 people and the more the merrier.
“The people that come along often vary but they’re are mostly older people, around 50 plus, sometimes widows or those who have family abroad and can’t get to them.
“One lady in her seventies came along last year because she had lost her husband and all her family live in Ireland.
Kirsten, who gave birth to her son Max five months ago, is no stranger to working Christmas day as her Mum runs a pub just across the road from her business.
In previous years she helped out alongside her Mum and family, serving Christmas dinners to groups and families but made the switch three years ago to help those in need of company during the season of good will.
She said: “We have handed out flyers in the town this year and we may even have to move into Mum’s pub if we get a lot of people.
“Our family is used to working Christmas day and it just seemed like a great way to help others.
“I love Christmas and everyone should be able to enjoy it too.
“All the food is provided by myself as well as some donations from local businesses such as crackers and decorations.”
Kirsten believes the effort that her and her staff put in to making Christmas special for those who feel alone is all worth it to see the enjoyment on their faces.
She said: “People that come here may not have been out of the house for sometimes and feel like no one cares about them.
“It is so nice to see their reactions and see them chatting away with other people.”
“It’s what Christmas is all about.”