A “DIVERSE collection” of people in and around Rhyl have pulled together to make Christmas merry for rough sleepers.

Rhyl and Kinmel Bay have been lit up with goodwill, with a series of initiatives donating time, food and clothes at Queen Street restaurants Rhyl Spice and Chilli Pink Express, St Mary’s Church on Wellington Road and the Kinmel Bay Evangelical Church.

Asides from seasonal altruism, each of the venues were linked in their commitment to “Project Happy Christmas” through Facebook group Help Rhyl’s Homeless, which coordinates voluntary schemes in the area throughout the year.

Keith Rushworth, who visited many of the events, said: “Most of us take a great many benefits for granted on Christmas Day, but for those who are homeless, or dealing with other major problems, it’s a day that can conjure dread rather than delight.

“This year, in Rhyl, a diverse collection of people pulled together to make Christmas happy for people in need. Many of those committed to “Project Happy Christmas” didn’t even know each other, nor was there any leader.

“Until a week or so ago, things had not been looking good. In previous years St Mary’s, had produced a full Christmas Dinner. This year that fell through as well as the Dewi Sant Centre stopping its normal Christmas Day operations.

“At the eleventh hour a lady called Suzanne Rees put out a Facebook post that spurred others and pulled things together.”

In response, St Mary’s organized a soup and cake lunch, while the Kinmel Bay Church held its first Christmas Dinner and the Rhyl Spice Indian Restaurant stepped in with free curry in the evening.

To aid their efforts, at the Salvation Army hosted a pre-Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve, a flyer was available to guests detailing all of venues open for Christmas Day.

Mr Rushworth added: “The day passed off extremely well. At both Churches the donated gifts, mainly clothing, were picked over with a mixture of relief, gratitude and excitement. Even at this point someone was heard to say that it was their best Christmas ever

“The only disappointment, felt especially at Rhyl Spice and Kinmel Bay Church, was that more people had not come.

"Part of the problem was the difficulty of getting the information to the right people, and giving them the encouragement or confidence to attend.

"Both Churches have made clear that they will produce a full dinner next Christmas for anyone and want people to pass this information on, or make a diary date to come themselves. Rhyl Spice have gone a step further and are not only are they repeating the curry next Christmas, but are now planning some more free or fund-raising meals during the year.”

To volunteer in 2020, visit the Facebook page Help Rhyl’s Homeless.