Following a provisional announcement from the Tavistock Rotary Club that they were unable to run their Christmas meal event, a recent turn of events has guaranteed that the event will now go ahead this year.

A series of subsequent conversations and networking between the church and alternative partners have meant that the Christmas meal can now go ahead.

Minister at the Tavistock United Reformed Church, Reverend Rob Weston said: ‘When the church was no longer able to find sufficient volunteers to run this event we handed over responsibility to Rotary who have been doing a great job, though hampered by covid lockdowns and restrictions in recent years.

‘The arrangement was always in place that we would look for an alternative arrangement if Rotary were unable to maintain this valuable community service. After some rapid negotiations this week, I’m delighted to announce that the Tavistock United Reformed Church is able to partner with Tavi Helps for this year’s meal.

‘We had already received calls from concerned individuals who wanted to know what was going to happen this year.

‘The good news is that we have everything back in place for the meal and the transport for participants. It’s all such a relief and I’m so glad we’ve found a solution so that the day can go ahead like we always hoped it would.’

A post on the church’s Facebook page says that volunteers can pick attendees up before 11.30pm on the day and take them home at around 2.30pm.

Volunteer group Tavi Helps are renowned for their work in the local community, such as the highly successful Christmas Treats campaign for vulnerable people at the height of the pandemic.

Rob further credited the Christmas Day lunch, held at the United Reformed Church on Russell Street, as having always been invaluable for people who otherwise would be alone on Christmas Day and stressed that this year will be even more speical for many, being the first meal back since 2019.

Rob added: ‘We’ve not had one in person for three years. We very nearly had one last year but unfortunately due to covid cases rapidly rising, for everyone’s safety, the decision had to be taken to call it off. Even in the last three years when we couldn’t be in person, we always kept in touch with those who would have attended and made sure they had a meal on Christmas Day. We’re expecting to see 40 to 50 people this year. It’s a long standing tradition and we’re very much hoping it’ll take place next year too.’

Judy Hirst is coordinating the event and is reminding everyone interested in attending to speak with her to book their place.

Judy said: ‘As always, there is no charge but places are limited, so it is vital that people book in advance. We are so grateful that working with Tavi Helps we are able to ensure that a little more Christmas cheer will be on offer in Tavistock this December!’

If you or someone you know would like to book a place, email Judy at: [email protected] or phone 07894 538131.