The Patel's outside their shop

Twickenham newsagents to welcome hundreds more visitors this Christmas

Meet and Deep newsagents in Twickenham will remain open again this Christmas, offering free hot food, drinks and company to anyone that needs it.

The newsagents on Hampton Road has welcomed locals into their shop on Christmas Day for over 20 years, providing mince pies, samosas, masala tea and company to crowds from across Southwest London.

Meet and Deep had over 300 visitors last Christmas, with long queues forming ahead of the shop opening at 12pm.

The Christmas opening hours are officially 12-2pm, but many visitors stay around for longer.

The shop is owned by Shasi and Pallu Patel, and named after their sons Meeten and Deep. 

A PLACE TO MEET: The Patel’s have owned the corner shop for other thirty years

The Patel’s first opened their shop on Christmas when a young man knocked on their window asking for help.

Pallu said: “He came from Africa and was looking to get credit to call his mum on the phone.

“He was crying and asking for our help, at first I wasn’t sure as we never opened on Christmas but I felt guilty and passed him what he needed through the shop window.

“He thanked me and said I had helped two mother’s that day, his mother who he could call, and me because I had done a good thing.”

Sign outside of Meet and Deep
WE ARE FAMILY: The Christmas celebrations are well-known amongst locals

The Patel’s work is inspired by Hindu-values, promoting the principles of good karma and kindness from small things.

Deep said: “If you can teach little bits of kindness and compassion then kids can learn, parents can learn and everyone can just be nicer, kinder people.”

Whilst the family don’t celebrate Christmas themselves, they understand the pressures that the festive season can bring, especially for those who are living alone or struggling financially. 

The family have faced backlash during the thirty years that the shop has been open, from local residents telling them to ‘go back to where they came from’, to customers refusing to hand over their money and chucking it on the counter instead.

Despite this prejudice, the family work tirelessly to nurture community in Twickenham.

Pallu acknowledged that this isn’t always easy to do – especially when people are rude or unpleasant – but explained that working with her family and seeing customers happy makes it all worth the effort.

The Patel’s support those in need every day of the year, not just Christmas.

The shop’s windows and walls are covered with posters sharing jokes, positive messages and encouraging care for animals.

SPREADING KINDNESS: The windows are filled with charitable messages

The shop also functions as a food bank, animal welfare drop-off and book depository.

Pallu said: “We’re more of community hub than a corner shop!”

This winter, Meet and Deep has also served as a heat hub for anyone who cannot keep up with rising energy costs.

Deep said: “We have welcomed people who don’t come in to buy anything but just to get warm because it’s so cold in their house.

“We get a chair, we chat for an hour or more and then they go home.

“It’s great to be able to provide for people.”

Meet and Deep will be open from 12-2pm on Monday 25th December.

Anyone who can’t attend in person is welcome to join Meet and Deep’s Facebook livestream to take part in games, chats and festive fun.

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