The owner of Claude’s Café has said he is looking forward to a memorable Christmas Day as his staff prepare to welcome local people who may otherwise be celebrating alone this year.
Declan Moore will be opening the doors of his Shipquay Street cafe for a traditional Christmas Day lunch party, while Claude’s have also arranged for teams of volunteers to bring festive cheer in the form of Christmas dinner and gifts out to people in the community who are alone or in need of a little help this year.
This is now the 14th year that Claude’s Cafe will open on Christmas Day and the initiative, developed by Declan and his cousin, friend and fellow businessman, food supplier Dermot O’Donnell, has grown over the years.
Commenting on how it all began, Declan said: “In retrospective terms, I think my motivation was that my mum died in November and Christmas wasn’t exactly the greatest for myself and my family. She was only 48 years old. It was that re-focus of trying to do something positive on a dark day.
“It has now got so big. Before we were under the radar and we went from that to putting it out there a bit more and getting more people to invest in it. Fortunately, local businesses got fully signed up and we have had some really big donations.
“It’s not just in here on Christmas Day, it’s out in the community, volunteers go out armed with food and presents. We all get something out of it. It’s just another channel to focus something positive into.
“We have 35 or 40 people in the community and we chose to have two people going out to see them on Christmas Day. We have 70 volunteers doubling up in pairs.”
And it’s not just Declan, Dermot and the staff who have been heavily involved, as both Declan’s three daughters, Rebekah, Sophie and Mollie, and Dermott’s daughters Emma, Rachel and Jenny have also come onboard and helped organise everything.
“We have received a great response from people coming in and leaving presents, vouchers, sweets, biscuits. It’s mindblowing. Without a shadow of a doubt the presents are fabulous presents,” Declan noted.
And he said the atmosphere is again expected to be magic this year at Claude’s.
“It’s like birthdays when you are a child. It’s people coming together.
“I see myself as getting the most out of this entire thing. If I didn’t do this, Christmas wouldn’t be the same!”