Hotel manager vows to help homeless after festive lunch hailed a success

Stuart Turner of Aspect Housing.

Stuart Turner of Aspect Housing. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A hotel manager who gave homeless people in Norwich a brighter Christmas is hoping to continue spreading festive cheer into the new year.

Two period buildings formerly run as the low-cost hotel NR2 in Norwich's Earlham Road have been bought by Birmingham-based Aspect Housing and are now providing accommodation for vulnerable people.

Stuart Turner, general manager, provided a room and a meal for 12 homeless people on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

He said: "It was a super couple of days."


People at the festive homeless event at the former NR2 in Norwich's Earlham Road. 

People at the festive homeless event at the former NR2 in Norwich's Earlham Road. - Credit: Supplied by Stuart Turner

The guests were treated to haircuts, provided with gloves and socks as well as food courtesy of local businesses and neighbours and were even given an operatic performance by city-based soprano Emma Nuule.

Mr Turner said: "On December 22 I decided I needed a real breakfast so took my assistant into the city. On the way out a young lady busker was completing her set up and we waited for her first song.

"Her voice blew us away and we were quick to pop £10 in her box. We asked if she would be available Christmas Eve - and she was.

"Before we started serving food Emma sang four songs and had us almost in tears. It was a great way to kick off the event."


 

People at the festive homeless event at the former NR2 in Norwich's Earlham Road. 

People at the festive homeless event at the former NR2 in Norwich's Earlham Road. - Credit: Supplied by Stuart Turner


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Luis Neto from Luis Neto hair design on Pottergate "was kept busy for most of the afternoon with haircuts" while there was a burger van from Lowestoft providing food.

There were also donations of sausages and burgers from the Auction House on Newmarket Road, Norwich, while neighbours baked mince pies.

Mr Turner said it was "most definitely a success" and has vowed to do more to try and help homeless people in the city.

He said: "I've had many offers of financial donations so am working on a donation page as we speak."

One company has already indicated it would be willing to sponsor them, and he said Aspect Housing would now be going out "52 weeks a year to serve hot food" in Norwich.


People at the festive homeless event at the former NR2 in Norwich's Earlham Road. 

People at the festive homeless event at the former NR2 in Norwich's Earlham Road. - Credit: Picture supplied by Stuart Turner

Mr Turner, who lost his job on cruise ships earlier this year and has had some "really dark days", said he wanted to provide some positivity to those in need at the end of an already difficult year.

He added: "We will continue to do whatever we can to help the homeless and vulnerable of Norwich."

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