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Every Christmas Day since 2007, Core Church has hosted their Community Christmas Dinner at Melksham Assembly Hall – but sadly not this year.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the necessary restrictions on social gatherings that the government has implemented, it will not be possible for the event to go ahead this year.
“It’s a matter of safety and practicality,” explained Gavin Owen of Core Church. “Many of our guests are amongst the most vulnerable people in the community and to invite them to an event where their chances of contracting coronavirus would be substantially increased would be irresponsible.
“We also have to consider the well-being of our volunteers, especially those who serve at table and those who help with transport, all of whom come into close contact with our guests.
“From a practical point-of-view, assuming we could be classified as a pop-up restaurant rather than a social gathering, the rule-of-six and the need to create greater distance between tables would greatly reduce our capacity and there would be no way to accommodate our usual numbers.
“Even if we went ahead with reduced numbers, we would run the risk of the event having to be cancelled at short notice if infection rates rise and the government has to impose tighter restrictions.
“By making a decision now, we’re giving people as much time as possible to make alternative arrangements. During lockdown it was wonderful to see how people took care of neighbours who were in need and we hope that we will see the same spirit again this Christmas.
“We’re disappointed not to be able to host our Community Christmas Dinner this year, some of the team have spent the last 13 Christmas Days at the Assembly Hall and it will be very strange not to be there this year.
“We will miss sharing Christmas with all our guests, but the possibility that we could be responsible for a so-called super-spreader event is too big a risk to take.”