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Festive Donation Brings Christmas Spirit to Bradford Communities

Festive Donation Brings Christmas Spirit to Bradford Communities

The magic of Christmas touched Bradford South this week thanks to a special festive donation by Bradford College. After an urgent sponsorship appeal by local councillors to help build and decorate a sleigh for Santa, Bradford College stepped in – just in time for a series of enchanting Santa breakfasts for local children.

Chris Hayden, Eccleshill Ward Councillor said:

Last Christmas, hundreds of people in Ravenscliffe and Greengates turned out to watch a spectacular Santa parade after we borrowed a sleigh made by Baildon Men’s Shed. The volunteer team, myself, and Councillor Andy Walsh (Wyke Ward Councillor and CEO at Sandale Trust), hoped to expand Santa’s route this year and incorporate more Bradford postcodes with a higher proportion of social housing. However, the sleigh was no longer available.

“Not to be thwarted, Councillor Andy Walsh set his team about designing and building a brilliant new sleigh from a converted camping trailer! This is to be maintained by the newly formed ‘BD10 Community Events’ group, in partnership with Sandale Community Trust and students at Bradford College. 

“The project team received the support of local youth services and community centres to assist with the project, however an appeal needed to be launched to cover the construction costs, decoration costs, and the costs for running the events. Funding for these projects is more vital than ever as, sadly, the demand for welfare and community support is only rising.”

In a gesture of seasonal goodwill, Bradford College supported the project to ensure the parades could go ahead annually. These were kicked off by a series of free Santa breakfasts for the local community held at Sandale Community Hub in Buttershaw on Monday 18th and Wednesday 20th December. 

Cllr Andy Walsh continued:

“We are thrilled to make so many wishes come true this Christmas, thanks to the support of great partners like Bradford College and Incommunities Ltd, Sandale Community Trust volunteers, and generous donations from the local church and members of the public. We rely on the generosity of others to make these simple but massively impactful events happen.

“Christmas is a costly time of year, and getting tickets to meet Santa is just too expensive for many struggling families. I remember how magical it was as a kid, and I’d hate for any children to miss out on that experience. That’s why we put on these free breakfasts for local children and their families – so they can all enjoy a free meal, experience seeing Santa arrive outside on his sleigh, and visit our special grotto to receive their present.”  

Bradford College is an established partner of Sandale Community Trust. Earlier this year, twelve Level 3 Business students helped manage the charity’s operations and gained invaluable work experience. The Bradford College Students’ Union also collected toys, non-perishable food, toiletries, and warm winter clothes donations for local community hubs and charities, including Sandale Community Trust.

Sarah Towan, Bradford College Vice Principal for Recruitment & Communications, said:

“It’s fantastic to support such a great cause – Sandale really do amazing work. As the community college for Bradford, we are relentless in our ambition to support local people wherever we can.”

The Santa breakfasts are just one of many activities managed by Sandale Community Trust for Buttershaw and Woodside residents. Other winter projects include Coats 4 Community (in partnership with the Recycled Teenagers group), social supermarkets with free delivery, a surplus food café, older people’s services from befriending to a free Christmas dinner, a Secret Santa appeal collecting over 1,500 gifts per year, and safe and warm children’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) clubs.

*Sandale Community Development Trust is a registered charity; one-off or monthly donations can be made to support this vital work across Bradford South communities.*

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