Following the success of Santa’s Grotto at last year’s Belfast Christmas Market, the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children will return again this year to bring smiles to young Market visitors, while raising much needed funds for a very worthwhile cause.
Once again Santa’s grotto has been generously gifted by Market Place to a local charity and are delighted to announce that the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity will return to the Market in 2016 to Unit Charity to our festive village. This year they’re pulling out even more stops to host Santa in his newly designed home at the Christmas Market. The charity was initially set up 30 years ago to raise funds to build an eight-bedded unit at the Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, with the aim of providing care for children with cancer and blood disorders this is the only unit in NI where these children can be treated. Funds contribute to equipment and resources such as staff training and research.
Allan Hartwell, Christmas Market Manager said:
“We are always keen to support local charities and this year we are delighted to again welcome the Children’s Cancer to our festive village. This year we’re pulling out even more stops for for Santa and his many helpers, and have commissioned a local designer to create a magical Narnia-themed winter wonderland grotto to enchant and delight all our young visitors. It really will be a sight to behold!
The charity carries out vital work to provide care for children with cancer and blood disorders and we hope that even more people will come along to visit Santa at the Market and support the charity at the same time. Since our very first grotto at the Market, the charities involved have raised tens of thousands of pounds, enabling them to continue with their great work. We’re delighted to keep playing our part and we are continually so impressed by what a unique Santa experience each charity creates.”
With in excess of 1 million people expected at the Belfast Christmas Market this year, the charity is delighted to have been given this opportunity.
Felix Mooney, Chair of the Children’s Cancer Unit said:
“We are thrilled to be hosting Santa’s Grotto for the second year running at Belfast’s Christmas Market. This festive donation gives us the perfect opportunity to promote the work of both the charity and the Children’s Cancer Unit itself, as well raising vital funds to help provide the highest quality care for children with cancer in Northern Ireland.
“Last year we raised an overwhelming amount which went towards securing two newly built isolation rooms for the unit. We are really grateful to the team at Market Place for inviting us back, and we hope that every family that visits Santa with us will have an exciting and enjoyable experience.”
This year The Irish Fairy Door Company, who are one of the new Market traders, heard about the charity and wanted to help bring some fairy magic and more than a few smiles to children in the Unit. So Fairy Clodagh flew all the way from Fairy Valley to donate Fairy Doors to those in the facility.
Niamh Sherwin Barry, Chief Storyteller from the Irish Fairy Door Company said:
“When we first came up with the idea of our little fairy doors, it was primarily to promote imagination and magic in children's lives again. We felt, and still feel, very passionate about going back to grass roots and giving the child the tools to create their own magical world. It was when we started getting feedback from parents of sick children who needed that little extra bit of magic that we realised the potential power of having a magical friend living with you. It is very humbling for us to think that our little doors can make a difference out there with children and families who need it the very most. When we were invited to visit the Children's Cancer Unit, we delighted and honoured.”
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity Santa’s Grotto will be open every day for the duration of the Market with the elves and Santa working hard to generate much-needed funds for the children’s charity. For £10 children can meet Santa, receive a gift and have a professional photo taken to capture the moment.
Principal corporate partners for the 2016 Grotto are Killowen Contracts, with additional support from Agnew Audi, Ulster Property Sales, Lavery’s Bar, Garment Graphics, Toys r Us, The Entertainers, and Egro Viewing.
To keep up to date with what’s happening at the Christmas Market and for information any of the initiatives, follow the official Facebook page at Belfast Continental Christmas Market. Don’t miss the chance to make this Christmas an extra special one.
Belfast Christmas Market will be at the City Hall from Saturday 19 November until Thursday 22 December. Santa’s grotto will be open at the following times:
Monday – Friday 11am – 7pm
Saturday 10am – 7pm
Sunday 1pm – 6pm