Christmas dinner was served up early this week for the homeless in Bradford and Leeds, as one of the region’s top Indian restaurants provided a festive feast with a twist.
Mumtaz Leeds, on Clarence Dock, provided a glamorous setting for around 80 special guests on Monday 19th December, as communities celebrated the festive season with a plate of ‘Christmas Turkey Masala’.
An initiative organised by local charity, Just Give, the event saw faith representatives unite, alongside a host of dignitaries and people from sheltered housing.
Rab Nawaz, Mumtaz Leeds owner, said he was delighted to open his doors to some of society’s most disadvantaged.
“We have shown today how easy it is to spread a little holiday cheer,” he said. “This meal is a gift from us to the homeless to tell them that we do care.
“I would now like to urge other restaurants to do the same across the country. It is not complicated for us to put a smile on other people’s faces and we should do more as a society to help out those most in need.”
The Christmas Dinner event came about after Just Give CEO, Sajad Mehmood, said he wanted to make sure ‘everyone had a Christmas meal to remember’ this year.
After approaching Mumtaz Leeds, he was offered the chance to host the event at the picturesque restaurant, with Rab ‘footing the bill’ for guests.
Speaking on the day, Sajad said: “I just want to thank everyone who has helped make today possible. It goes to show that together we can make a huge difference.”
He added: “This idea first came about quite some time ago yet it has taken a lot of planning and support to get to where we are today.
“With help from Mumtaz, and all these guests here today, communities have come united at this restaurant and together have helped to make this day a great success.”
With plans for a shower bus to be set up next year, as well as the allocation of new accommodation for those in sheltered housing, Just Give hopes to use this first event as a springboard for its future projects.
Sajad added: “This is definitely just the first of many initiatives we have planned here at Just Give.
“We are all looking forward to working with so many of these faces here today in the future.”
As well as Christmas-themed food, entertainment was provided in the form of live music, alongside speeches from a number of guests.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Geoff Reid, and representatives from several faith groups were amongst those in attendance.
If you would like to make a donation to Just Give, please visit justgive.org.uk