Festive feast for homeless in Leeds

Chandelier by Mumtaz, Clarence Dock, Leeds.  12 May 2014. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Chandelier by Mumtaz, Clarence Dock, Leeds. 12 May 2014. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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Homeless people in Leeds and other parts of West Yorkshire are set to be wined and dined this Christmas.

A charity that works nation and world-wide to help the homeless, Just Give, has teamed up with an Indian restaurant based in Leeds to give those in need a flavour of Christmas cheer.

Working with Mumtaz in Leeds, and also the Bradford branch, it is planned to open up the city centre restaurant on Christmas Eve and also Christmas Day .

A three course meal awaits around 40 people, both men and women, who regularly sleep rough on the streets of Leeds city centre.

It is also hoped it can be served up by police and council representatives - or even footballers - giving the homeless a chance to tell their story.

Sajed Mahmood is the chief executive of Just Give which is also running soup kitchens in the city and is lobbying the council to open up redundant and empty authority buildings to provide shelter.

He said: “Mumtaz have given us the place for the day and to raise awareness about homeless people and the charity.”

Despite being able to help out 40 homeless and rough sleepers the figures for Leeds are actually in the hundreds with access to help and services scarce.

Mr Mahmood added: “The restaurant has given us the opportunity to bring some of them here for fine dining.

“Some of them have never had that and their faces lit up when I told them.

“As well they would never come into contact with police or MPs and this is a chance to tell them what they think, what they have been through and how they ended up there. There are some really sad stories.”