Christmas Community Dinners

Christmas dinners are one of our flagship community projects as part of our Community Engagement Dinners that we organise yearly around Christmas time up and down the country. It is not necessarily for people who would otherwise be spending Christmas Day alone but for the whole community we live in.    

Aims and Objectives

  • to help bring people from all sectors of our local community together through an event combining a friendly shared meal with an element of constructive community discussion of issues of local importance 
  • to enhance community spirit, social cohesion and proactive citizenship 
  • to bring together diverse community members in the spirit of sharing food. It is a beautiful way to promote interaction and friendship between people regardless of faith, culture, occupation or political outlook.    
  • to bring in a discussion of local issues as a focus for the event, which becomes a social occasion and a chance for diverse people to exchange views and consider important social issues together.    
  • to help build a strong, active and cohesive local community through both friendly social interaction and community discussion.  
  • to stimulate and motivate individuals and community groups to engage in dialogue while simultaneously providing valuable ideas through which effective dialogue can occur.  

Methodology

We normally organise Christmas dinners in partnership with other community groups, which helps to reach a more diverse audience. This could be a church group, a local charity, any other community/religious group, and stakeholders. The benefits of this go far beyond just the sharing of the workload. It provides an excellent opportunity to realise our goal of promoting interaction and friendship between different groups as we work together on the project and get to know each other better.  

Additionally, it not only expands our range of expertise by bringing in the skills of another group members but also expands our range of guests. It can help to establish a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship where each partner can sometimes benefit from the support, expertise, contacts and facilities of the other. 

Dinners can be organised in different ways and can incorporate a variety of extra features. A typical dinner can include food, music, art displays, Kahoot-type entertainment, keynote addresses and, importantly, a discussion around a pre-selected theme of local importance where participants can talk together and discuss possible ways forward. Experience shows that in a situation where stakeholders, community organisations and members of the public are all present, it can be empowering for participants and even have a place in shaping local government policy. 

As an alternative, the dinner can also facilitate a community discussion in a ‘speed dialogue’ format. Rather than staying with the group at their table and engaging in discussion with them throughout, participants at a speed dialogue dinner have a series of short one-to-one discussions with different partners (before or after dinner, or between courses). 

This could also be a ‘Festive Meal’, for example, in the lunch format to bring together diverse communities and all those who are alone on Christmas Day to ensure that no one in the local community feels left out during the festive spirit of joy. It is an excellent opportunity to enhance community cohesion on the local level. 

Project Impact

The project has been going on for such a long time. This shows it has a considerable interest in the project. We hope to organise similar events involving more diverse groups to get more people involved in these gatherings.

Project Contact

We are here to provide additional support when you have any queries. Please reach us at info@dialoguesociety.org.