A festive gift-buying appeal launched in Bradford by the Lord Mayor on Saturday is encouraging local shoppers to help hit an £840k gift target for local, disadvantaged children.
Organised by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Bradford, the annual Secret Santa Appeal is marking its 24th year of working in partnership with Kirkgate Shopping which is once again sponsoring the appeal which historically collects around £35,000 worth of gifts each year.
Kirkgate centre manager Catherine Riley, who co-ordinates the donation point at the shopping centre, said that if 2016’s donations match those of previous years, local shoppers could help top £840k worth of gifts in the lifetime of the shopping centre’s JCI partnership.
“We know that the average gift price is £10 and with around 3,500 gifts bought each year, our visitors and supporters pay a huge part in contributing around £35,000 worth of Christmas presents for hundreds of incredibly deserving children across our district.
“Over the last 23 years of working together, this means more than £800,000 in gifts have been donated – with our customers’ continued support this year, the initiative could collate enough gifts to hit a campaign high of £840k! The more gifts we collect, the more children benefit. The value of that is absolutely priceless.“
Shoppers will find a Christmas tree across the mall from Kirkgate’s free Christmas grotto, decorated with 700 tags containing the name, age and gender of disadvantaged children in the district. After taking a tag, families and individuals then select a gift for the named child.
Michelle Pemberton from JCI Bradford said: “Each year since 1989, we have been working with local businesses to collect and deliver Christmas presents for disadvantaged children across the Bradford area. Thanks to our 24-year-partnership with Kirkgate Shopping, we hope that this year’s Secret Santa Appeal will capture the imagination of the shopping public once again and encourage them to buy an extra gift for an unknown child, who would otherwise be going without this Christmas.
“The Bradford public is very generous and the appeal has become synonymous with Kirkgate as its base, we wouldn’t think of going anywhere else in the city.”
Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Geoff Reid, who kicked off the campaign by donating a personal gift on Saturday, said: “I am delighted to support the JCI’s Secret Santa Appeal in its 27th year. The fact that so many generous local people help to put a smile on the faces of needy children on Christmas morning is very heartwarming indeed. People have shown that they can still think about others in the midst of their own city centre Christmas shopping.”
Visitors can take part in the Secret Santa Appeal until 11 December and visit Kirkgate Shopping’s free Santa’s Grotto until Christmas Eve.