Christmas may be another month off but the season of goodwill has started early triggered by one Wigan business owner.
Paul Knox, who owns Beech Hill fish and chip shop Gidlow Plaice, will provide 100 meals for the town’s homeless people next week.
I often think about homeless people at this time of year especially when you wake up in the morning and there’s frost on the groundCoun Phyll Cullen
The kind-hearted boss said he was inspired to do help out after walking through the town centre and seeing several street beggers.
He told the Evening Post: “I offered some food to a group of them and got talking to them about what they were on the streets.
“I came up with the idea after talking to (Wigan homeless charity) the Brick and a customer who helps out with local book cycles. It’s terrible the number of homeless people we have here in Wigan.”
Paul will open the Gidlow Lane eatery between 2pm and 5.30pm on Sunday December 4 and will provide around 100 meals. Food can be swapped for vouchers which will be distributed by staff The Brick in the town centre.
He added: “The original plan was to bring everything to the town centre so they didn’t have to come up to Beech Hill but we decided it was best to host it ourselves.”
The business boss has been helped with similar acts of generosity from his suppliers VA Whitley, Midlands Fish Company and Anthony Swift Potato merchants who have all agreed to donate goods for the free meals.
And Paul added that members of the public will be able to pop in on the Sunday and all proceeds will be donated to the Brick.
Coun Phyll Cullen, who represents Beech Hill for Labour as part of the Wigan West ward, said: “I think it’s a wonderful idea from Paul, it’s very kind of him.
“I linked him up with the staff at the Brick so we can get the voucher system in place.
“I often think about homeless people at this time of year especially when you wake up in the morning and there’s frost on the ground.
“It makes me think just how lucky I am to be able to switch my heating on. The staff at the Brick do such wonderful work and they deserve our support.”
Coun Cullen said Beech Hill’s Wellfield Hotel is now doubling up as a community hub and volunteers recently ran a clothing drive for the homeless in Wigan.
The former mayor added that some of those sleeping rough in the town centre are not yet registered the Brick which is a situation that needs changing.