A CHURCH in Bournemouth will welcome lonely and vulnerable people through its doors to share in a meal on Christmas Day.

This will be the second year running Destiny Life Church on West Howe Industrial Estate has hosted a lunch.

The idea was started by Sophie Sullivan, 29, and her husband, John, 31, after they said they wanted to reach out to those who might be on their own and help make their Christmas Day special.

Last year’s event attracted around 20 guests and this year Sophie, John and their volunteers are hoping 30 people will attend.

Sophie said: “The atmosphere last year was very cheery and joyful - with our youngest guest aged four, and our oldest guest was 79. We had Christmas music playing and started off with a Christmas quiz for each table, that got our guests talking to one another and interacting. We also had games where each table had to compete for the winning prize at the end.

“Thanks to the generous donations of people in our church and community, we were able to give away some hamper baskets to some guests who had a winning raffle ticket, before they went home."

After preparing the lunch, the volunteers of all ages sit down to enjoy the meal with guests.

Sophie said: “We have a group of helpers ranging from teenagers, quite a few in our twenties and thirties right up to two lovely ladies in their sixties - so everyone is making this a possibility, and everyone is welcome - young or old. This is a completely inclusive event”.

Guests will be able to arrive at 12noon and dinner will be served at 1pm. There’s also a dessert table, soft drinks and nibbles after lunch with entertainment and games throughout. No alcohol will be permitted. The event comes to an end at 3pm.

Sophie added: “Many of our guests from last year stayed in touch and started to come along to afternoon tea club and coffee mornings hosted at Destiny Life Church.”

Those interested in attending should book their place by December 15 and anyone who would like to be involved in the build-up to the event or on the day itself can email Sophie on hitchman.sa@gmail.com.

Destiny Life Church will also be hosting a Christmas Carol service on December 23 at 6pm.