Christmas with REfUSE


This Christmas day REfUSE are running a lunch with a difference. They are inviting people in and around Chester Le Street over to the yet-to-be-opened cafe for turkey, presents, a visit from Santa and carols. The day, run in partnership with Emmanuel Church Chester-le-Street, will bring together people who might be at a loose end over Christmas for a jolly good afternoon.

“Christmas is a time for family and community, a day when no one should be lonely or hungry.” Nikki, the founder and director of Refuse said, “Over the past few years a number of my friends have really struggled at this time of year. All the hype tells you it should be the most joyful and wonderful time of the year, but for many it is really tough. What better way to first open our café to the public than by sharing Christmas dinner, singing some songs and having a laugh on Christmas day.”

REfUSE is accepting bookings and referrals through local organisations like the food bank, YMCA, local church groups, job centre, doctor’s surgery and refugee service. The food that will be served would all have otherwise gone to waste. The event also highlights the scale of waste that accompanies our Christmas celebrations. Between special offer over-buys, turkeys heading in the bin at shop’s close on Christmas Eve, and festive branding being off-shelves by Boxing day, we waste 4.2 million Christmas dinners in the UK each year.

Volunteers have been working hard to get the empty building ready to open fully in the New Year.ristmas dinners in the UK each year.


“Christmas is also a time for over-indulgence and extravagance.” Nikki explained, “REfUSE is all about highlighting the crazy amount good, healthy, in-date food that is heading for the bin in the UK, and this is by far the worst time of year for it. We’re happy we can intercept a small amount and use it to celebrate together.”


The event will be the first time the public will be invited to the cafe, which is set to have its full opening in the New Year. A team of volunteers, including a team from McCarricks Construction and even the Chester-le-Street fire service, have been working hard to transform the old Magnet kitchens shop into a community café,  will be open to all and serving only food that would otherwise have been wasted on a “pay as you feel” basis.

If you’d like to come along or help, get in touch via. our Facebook page, our email- or pop into Cornerstones Church in the town centre to sign your name up.

Some of the REfUSE team: Susie Hart, Nikki Dravers, Mim Skinner, Stu Clark, Oliver Priestley-Leach and Anna Gosden.

Additional Information:

Nikki Dravers and Mim Skinner: Founding Directors of Community Interest Company.


Twitter: @refusecic



Contact Nikki Dravers 07512365768 or Mim Skinner 07806608499 for more information or interviews.

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