The spirit of Christmas was well and truly evident at The Brunel centre this Christmas, with the shopping mall seeing a significant increase in donations to its festive charitable activities.
As in previous years The Brunel, which is based in Swindon Town Centre, supported two local charities, Prospect Hospice and homeless charity Christmas Care.
For the second year running, a team of Prospect’s volunteers ran a charity gift-wrap stall in the centre. Shoppers were able to have their purchases wrapped in return for a donation to the Hospice. The Brunel Centre donated wrapping paper and other materials needed for the mammoth job. Local business Dialog Semi-conductors also donated wrapping materials.
Jane Stewart is the centre’s Marketing Manager and said that the charity gift-wrap was even more popular this year: “We first tried this out in 2014 and not only did it raise a great sum of money for Prospect Hospice, it also proved to be very popular with our customers” said Jane. “Word has clearly spread around the town and we’re absolutely thrilled that this Christmas the event raised a whopping £4,676.56! It’s exceeded all our expectations and is just brilliant news”.
Amy Francombe is Prospect Hospice’s Community Fundraiser. Amy said: “We are delighted with the brilliant total raised through the gift wrapping over the 2015 Christmas period and we would like to thank The Brunel and Dialog Semiconductor for their donations of gift wrapping materials, and all of our volunteers for their help during the very busy time of year.
‘It was great to see so many shoppers using the service, and we are very grateful to them all for their generous donations. This fantastic amount will help us to provide more care and support for the many patients and family members who will turn to Prospect Hospice in 2016.”
Local charity Christmas Care also benefitted from the generosity of The Brunel’s customers with £350 being raised for the Charity from donations given for reindeer food. Visitors to the centre’s Santa’s Grotto were invited to donate a minimum of £1 for reindeer food, with all proceeds going to the cause. Swindon-based Christmas Care provides shelter, care and companionship for Swindon’s homeless and needy at the Queen’s Drive Christmas homeless shelter.
Patsy Moloney, Chairman of Christmas Care, said that cash donations such as this are vital for the charity. “Every donation makes a difference to us,” said Patsy. “We received lots of food donations but there are also many costs associated with running the shelter and so we’re very grateful to organisations such as The Brunel Centre for thinking of us. We’d like to say thank you to The Brunel team and all those who helped raise the money by buying the special reindeer food. When I became involved with Christmas Care around 15 years ago I never thought that in 2015 there would be a need for such a shelter, but this year we welcomed more people than ever, and lots of new faces.”
The Santa’s grotto at The Brunel Centre proved very popular with more than 3,600 visitors. The attraction was free to visit and every child received a gift. There was also a special post box where Children could post their letters to Santa. More than 700 children decided this traditional method of communication was worth a try.