An amazing £2,661.06 raised!
We couldn’t have been happier being chosen as the Belfry Shopping Centre’s Christmas charity partner this year. Everything they do is fantastic; they are known amongst us locals for always delivering on their promise and putting on a great show. So, we flew to Redhill as fast as Stripey could fly, to see how we could contribute to them delivering Christmas and, in turn, how they could support our cause.
The grotto was top of the agenda! With the help of Great Grottos, they were creating a magical winter wonderland right here in the Belfry. We were lucky enough to have a sneak peak. We took a walk through the woodland leaving fresh footprints in the snow, through the glistening fir trees to Santa’s log cabin. They had literally thought of everything, from the ‘glowing’ fire to the subtle scent of pine.
Grotto sessions were booking up fast – not surprising at £5 a pop which included a gift of the same value – it was going to be a busy lead up to Christmas. As families waited in turn to see the big man in red, we wanted to give them the opportunity to learn about Stripey Stork and the many different ways they could help.
Thanks to Tom Graham Creative, we put together a short compilation video to be played on a screen aesthetically positioned within the trees. We also displayed posters and leaflets, and had collection buckets and a tap card reader for when exiting the grotto.
With it being Christmas, our Santa Stork campaign was in full flow so we had plenty of opportunities for people to help with this campaign by pledging a toy for a local child in need from our online Santa Shop, donating selection boxes or toiletry gift sets (the Belfry was one of our official collection points), volunteering or fundraising.
The Belfry also offered us a stall in a prominent place within the mall, which was manned during busy times by our lovely volunteers. Thank you to everyone who gave up time during their busy weekends to be on hand to help, it provided another touchpoint for people to learn about the work we do and how they could get involved.
All the excitement was leading up to the big lights switch-on event on Saturday 19th November, which for many kick-starts the festivities, and of course the official opening of the grotto. We had an absolute ‘ball’ as you can see.
Stripey got to be a local celebrity, centre-stage and joined by the cast of the Harlequin Cinderella panto, including Eddie the Eagle and Simon Bashford, our friend and only the best dame in the business. It was so lovely to see him again, as we reminisced about the day he joined us to volunteer for Santa Stork 2020 when the panto season was cancelled due to Covid and the Santa Stork team were based at the Harlequin Theatre.
And not forgetting our local Mayor and Santa himself, both taking time out of their busy schedules to join in the fun and festivities, with a football twist. A great time was had by all and everyone appreciated the free entertainment and food during these financially worrying times.
The grotto closes on Christmas Eve, as Santa quickly heads back to the North Pole to load his sleigh ready for his busiest night of the year. The final amount raised from the collection buckets alone was £2,661.06, which will be used to kick-start our work in 2023. We know it’s going to be a busy one, as more and more families are struggling with the cost-of-living taking its toll, so we really appreciate this support.
We’d also like to thank the Belfry shoppers for supporting Santa Stork through either pledging or donating a gift. It’s because of your collective efforts that more local children in need will have a gift to open on Christmas morning.
You can read more about our Santa Stork campaign and its impact in our Santa Stork 2022 blog.
And finally, a big thank you to Andy and his lovely team at the Belfry, for giving us this opportunity and being such fantastic partners – at Christmas and all year round!