Christmas has come early for a well-loved North Yorkshire community hub, allowing the dedicated workers and volunteers to plan ahead for the festive season.

Throughout the year Colburn Hub and Café plays a vital role in supporting the local community, tackling loneliness and isolation by providing a welcoming place to meet friends and enjoy an affordable nutritious meal and a cuppa.

It’s also a hive of activity as a venue for a wide range of social activities, support groups and zero food waste scheme.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Colburn Hub volunteers with some of the donated food/produce

A highlight of the year is the Christmas Day dinner with up to 70 people enjoying turkey with all the trimmings.

Broadacres Housing Association has helped in the past to buy a freezer and oven and this year a £500 grant from its Community Development Fund will help towards the cost of the dinner itself.

Broadacres have always come up trumps for us and this grant plus the generosity of local businesses means everyone can enjoy the festivities,” said one of the hub’s working directors Helen Grant.

She added: “This is always a highlight of the year and it’s not just those who would otherwise be alone who benefit. We get elderly couples who perhaps don’t have the motivation to cook a big lunch at home but welcome the chance to enjoy one with friends, or local families with young children who can’t afford a Christmas feast.”

The workers and volunteers sit down and enjoy the meal with everyone else and see it as a highlight of the year rather than a chore and everyone attending the dinner chips in with helping to cook, serve, clear away or wash up after.

“It’s like The Waltons, everyone does something,” said Helen.

The Colburn hub operates a zero food waste scheme throughout the year; provides a two course lunch or full English breakfast for just a fiver and ensures excess food is made available to the local community rather than being thrown away.

This extends to Christmas, when anyone who uses the zero waste project is offered a hamper for Christmas.

The Broadacres Community Development Fund supports local organisations, groups, and projects in areas where Broadacres has homes. All grants are approved by the Association’s own residents, via a Community Development Fund Panel.

Broadacres resident Mags Crook, who is on the panel, said: “We were delighted to be able to award the maximum grant of £500 to such a valuable community-based initiative like this.”

People/organisations who would like to apply through the Community Development Fund can visit to find out more.