Cafe to open on Christmas Day to help those in need

A cafe owner in Uddingston has taken the selfless decision to open on Christmas Day to help those in need.
Picture: Gail and her daughter in Jollytots and CookiesPicture: Gail and her daughter in Jollytots and Cookies
Picture: Gail and her daughter in Jollytots and Cookies

Inspired by her own difficult childhood Gail Gillon, 52, will open her Jollytots and Cookies cafe on December 25 for those who would be alone or can’t afford a traditional Christmas.

She said: “I had a tough upbringing in a very much working class family as the youngest of six children. We experienced our fair share of poverty. My father had his own demons and sadly alcohol became his solace.

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“He was cared for by the Salvation Army. I never really got to know him properly but the Salvation Army have always stood out for me - even just hearing them play in the streets at Christmas can reduce me to tears.”

Picture: Gail in her cafe Jollytots and CookiesPicture: Gail in her cafe Jollytots and Cookies
Picture: Gail in her cafe Jollytots and Cookies

The grandmother-of-two from Blantyre announced her plan in a heart-warming post on Facebook which has received over 6,000 shares and likes. Well-wishers have inundated the post with words of support and offers to help.

Gail normally makes a donation during the festive season and was already thinking about what she could do to help this year when she saw the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas appeal, which is all about reaching out to other less fortunate.

“I decided to open the café for people who are alone or struggling with money.

“Both personally and in my experience as a mental health nurse I witnessed lots of trauma, but often the overwhelming sadness for people is spending Christmas alone. It’s not only the person who has the addiction that suffers, it’s the families and friends too.”

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Jollytots and Cookies, based on Old Mill Road, will be putting on a festive buffet dinner, soup and Christmas puddings. There will be no entrance fee and the whole spread will be free of charge.

“Regardless if you are old, young, have an addiction of support someone who does, are lonely or in financial difficulty, Jellytots & Cookies in Uddingston is open for you on Christmas day.”

Gail had planned on running the afternoon with partner Stevie Kane, 51, and daughter Lisa Keegan, 26. but has had an overwhelming number of offers of support from kind-hearted Scots.

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She said: “I genuinely can’t believe how much it has taken off. I thought we might get a little bit of a response but it really has been incredible.

“I’d planned on running the day with my partner because it was too much to expect the staff to

come in on Christmas day, but we’ve had loads of offers of help.

“I had to stop reading them because they were making me cry. It really is true what they say it is so much better to give than receive. It’s been wonderful.”