Two Costa Coffee stores in Falkirk and Grangemouth are to act as “focal points” offering free cups of tea, mince pies and, most importantly, a warm and welcoming atmosphere for those who won’t be spending December 25 with family and friends.
Employees from Falkirk’s Costa Coffee shop in Central Retail Park and the La Porte Precinct store in Grangemouth will be on hand from midday to 2pm to greet anyone who could use some company with a friendly smile and a listening ear on what is a difficult day for many to face.
Management have been left delighted with the response they have received from workers, all of whom have agreed to travel from across the district to help out.
Debbie Beveridge, store manager at Costa Coffee in Central Retail Park, said: “This is to give back to the community that supports us every day.
“Lots of our customers are alone and have found help and support through coming in and also befriending other customers and we are now a meeting place for their friendship to grow.
“This isn’t about business or money in our tills, it’s about family and getting the word out to the guys who need a warm drink and a friend this Christmas.”
Provided the concept works this year, there is a hope among staff that all of the Costa Coffee shops across Falkirk, Grangemouth and Linlithgow will be able to follow suit and open up to the homeless and the lonely next Christmas.
Andrew McNeil, Costa Coffee area manager, said: “All of the staff said they would come in and I just felt there was no point in opening just the one store so we are opening in Grangemouth as well.
“It’s about giving back to the community.
“We’re going to be a focal point and it’s nice to do something for the people that don’t use this as a coffee shop.
“If it does well we will look at doing it next year possibly in all stores across Falkirk, Grangemouth and Linlithgow.”
Those who know of someone who might be spending Christmas on their own have been encouraged to spread the word by Costa Coffee staff.
The two shops are also asking customers to donate winter clothing that can be given out to the homeless on Christmas Day.
Debbie added: “We’ve contacted the local food banks and Salvation Army and we’re asking people to hand in spare clothes like hats and gloves in the run-up to keep people warm.
“We’re here for anybody that just wants a friend, a mince pie and a cup of tea on Christmas.
“Even if they don’t like tea they can come in for a chat if they’re feeling lonely. If they need anything we’re here.”