A Peculiar Tea: A Belfast restaurant offering free Sunday roast dinners for people who need help amid a cost of living crisis

A south Belfast restaurant has been hailed by customers after announcing it will cook free Sunday roast dinners for needy families and vulnerable people until Christmas.

Peculiar Tea, based on University Road and owned by Carryduff-born Gemma Austin, made the announcement on social media, confirming the benevolent offer will run every Sunday until December 18.

The restaurant said it “won’t be asking about attendees” and instead called on people who really need it to contact them by email or phone to confirm their attendance each week.

They said the deal includes a family meal and dessert between 12pm and 3pm.

“As everyone knows, times are tough. People are struggling financially and with Christmas on the horizon, everyone is under pressure to pay bills, heat homes and buy presents,” wrote the restaurant.

“I promised myself when I opened the restaurant that it would be about community, helping others and being a safe place for everyone. So we will do what we do best and try to helping people who need it.

“If you are taking part you must email [email protected]gmail.com or message 07842828240 to let me know you are taking part and with how many people by Thursday evening.

“I don’t want to lose anything, so I’ll only cook for the amount I know will come. You can enter every week or as many times as you like.

“We hope people with high disposable incomes don’t use this as an excuse for free food, as we won’t ask about participants. We hope that only those who will benefit will participate.

“There will also be free juice. The bar will be closed and it will not be possible to bring alcohol. No social network will be used to guarantee the anonymity of those present.

“It’s not a lot, but one good meal a week can be a big help for those in need. It doesn’t matter if you’re a full-time worker going through tough times or a single mom or dad with kids who just need a helping hand. Take the help that is offered, we all need it sometimes.

“If you or someone you know could benefit from this, please contact us via the email or phone number provided. Please let others know so we can help as many people as possible.

Founder and chef Gemma Austin previously appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu last year, when she finished second in the show’s heats.

News of the offer prompted many to praise the restaurant on social media, with users calling it “so generous” and a “truly wonderful gesture”.

Marion Harrison posted: “Well done, so heartwarming to hear. Reaffirms my faith in humanity.

About James Almanza

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