A SALTCOATS cafe will once again be opening their doors, and hearts, to people in the town who face spending Christmas Day alone.

Cafe at the Station will be providing a "day full of fun and cheer" as well as an "amazing dinner", all free of charge.

It won't be the first time the local business has offered help to others during the holiday season, and owner Susan Barbour's daughter Amy told the Herald exactly why they do it.

She said: "It broke our hearts when we’d speak to customers about their Christmas plans to hear that they’d be alone on Christmas Day, not even putting up decorations as there would be no-one to see them.

"We love our regulars and our community, and the answer seemed obvious to my mum: open our doors so that no one has to spend the day alone.

"The day is full of fun and cheer. As well as an amazing dinner, we provide games, gifts and most importantly company.

"The event is upbeat and inclusive. You may come on your own, but you will not feel alone.

"Everyone sits with strangers and leaves with friends. We hope that we can continue to give warmth and kindness at what can be the most difficult time of year."

In addition to the above, the organisers said: "We have contact details for some of our taxi friends if you need transport - just ask!"

And the Vernon Street cafe hopes to once again show the Christmas spirit that is needed in the community - which has been emphasised even more in the years following the Covid pandemic.

Amy added: "Our Christmas Day dinner has been a major success over the last few years (excluding one due to COVID).

"We’ve found that after the pandemic, the need in our community has grown. We have widows of the pandemic coming and/or volunteering this year and we have attendees who’ve lost their jobs because of it.

"We’ve always been able to rely on the support of our other amazing local businesses who generously donate and of local people who selflessly give their time to organise, wrap gifts and provide transport on the day.

"We really rely on our community to provide for the community. Business has been really tough for us all over the last few years and we are so thankful for the continued support of our customers who’ve seen us through the other side of the pandemic.

"We appreciate every single donation - whether it’s a warm jacket, a packet of lentils for our soup or Christmas crackers, everything goes towards making it a magical day."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Cafe owner Susan Barbour alongside her daughter Amy.Cafe owner Susan Barbour alongside her daughter Amy. (Image: Submitted)

And while so many businesses within the community play their part, Amy also praised her mum for the "countless hours" she puts into ensuring the day is a success.

She continued: "It is a time consuming day to plan. My mum spends countless hours through the year co-ordinating the event, and most of her December is devoted to ensuring everything runs smoothly.

"From making sure I don't burn the dinner to co-ordinating all of our volunteer drivers, from getting age appropriate gifts for all of the children who attend, to the nights after work Helen spends preparing the food, so much effort goes into making sure things run seamlessly.

"We have support from volunteers, like our neighbours, Katy and Gordon, who could gift wrap for Scotland and write almost 100 extra Christmas cards for us every year, and to Gordon who manages bookings and ensures no call goes unanswered."

For more information, visit 'Cafe at the Station' on Facebook, or to make a booking, you can call Gordon on 07960 005116. No bookings will be take directly in the cafe or through their Facebook page.

If you are interested in helping out in anyway or volunteering, more information will be posted on Facebook closer to the day itself.