Christmas is normally a time when families get together to celebrate the year; therefore it can be the hardest time for Crypt clients, feeling estrangement from this familiar feeling
The Crypt goes out of its way to provide a family Christmas for the homeless, destitute and vulnerable of Leeds. This includes a three course Christmas lunch, presents to kids in need through partnership with the Church and Community groups and a warm, inviting, familiar space for people to relax and enjoy the Christmas spirit.
They will be having a carol service for the clients, there will be a good number of dedicated volunteers who will be serving food and providing Christmas cheer over the festive season and mince pies for all a very Merry Christmas!
Alan McGarry, a regular at the crypt for the past 9 years and now a volunteer in the kitchen said ‘After my wife and I divorced I was left homeless. I lived in Doncaster but could not find a place to stay so moved to Leeds. I was on the streets for four weeks as I didn’t meet the criteria for housing.
One day someone told me about the Crypt. I went, they put me up, worked with me and the council to find me a flat and helped sort everything out; they really looked after me. At Christmas we would all get a Christmas dinner, the staff go out of their way to help and bring you in this year I’ll be helping out serving the food!’
Stephan Craig-Smythe, a past resident of Faith Lodge now staying in the No Second Night Out Leeds Hub said, ‘I came out of prison and was homeless the crypt was the only place that put me up. I moved into Faith Lodge but suffered mental health issues and had to leave. I would have become homeless and would have had to go back to prison so the Crypt moved me to the Hub and gave me a volunteering opportunity basically stopped me from going back to prison for having no fixed abode, kept me warm and off the streets on the run.’
When asked about Christmas he said ‘I will be spending it at the Crypt and it means loads to me I don’t have any family in Leeds, they’re all on the other side of the country and stupid as it sounds I don’t want to be lonely!’
‘Christmas was brilliant; we all sat down, food was brought to us and everyone was lovely. It meant not being alone, being with people I knew through here and having a nice Christmas dinner it’s not nice to spend Christmas alone!’