A burger and fries
Scott Olson/Getty Images

More UK businesses are giving back to the community this holiday season as another couple in Kenton organises a free Santa's grotto for families in a time when the cost of living is rising drastically.

Ray Narang, 36, and her husband, Danny, 32, are giving complimentary gifts, food, and drinks to anyone who visits the store.

During the pair's festive event at Arlington Convenience Store in Kenton, Newcastle, the couple freely share food and beverage like mulled wine, mince pies, hot chocolate, and hot dogs. All the kids receive presents from Father Christmas.

Narang, having run the shop with her partner for two years, told ChronicleLive, "We are aware that with the rising cost of living and being in an area of high unemployment and social deprivation, not everyone can afford to take their children to see Santa."

She said there are people who come to the shop, "topping up their gas and electric and coming back and putting money on again because it's not lasting."

Narang added that they come to the shop to buy "the bare essentials", whereas they would usually buy a bottle of wine. "When you see the same people day in day out, you can't help but start to care. It becomes more than a commercial enterprise.

According to the couple, the entire event is "funded by us personally". They are willingly handling all expenses and haven't charged anyone participating in the Santa's grotto.
The couple said, "We wanted to do this as a little something for our community to give something back this year".

Speaking on what inspired them, the couple said they wanted to do it "as a little something" for their community and to give back to them this year.

The couple is sponsoring the get-together, with some support from other local businesses. Wholesaler Makro in Washington thoughtfully donated a trolley of buns, sausages, and tubs of hot chocolate.

Ray characterised the feedback in the neighbourhood as "amazing," adding, "there is a great sense of community spirit, and we want to nurture that."

The couple had initially organised a community event for Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee, where they shared Pimm and scones and pit on a small barbecue.