Santa's Toy Factory at South Downs Nurseries in Hassocks and Santa's Enchanted Forest at Old Barn Garden Centre have raised a combined £41,358 for charity. The Budding Foundation who run the grottos at each centre, rely on a team of more than 60 volunteer elves to ensure as much money as possible reaches children and families in need across Sussex.
Santa saw almost 4,000 children this year and some of these children were those the charity has helped throughout 2019. Last year the charity spent £4,500 on gardening and conservation projects with local schools and community groups and £3,700 on equipment to help disabled children. They also covered a shortfall in funding of £1,650 for the Burgess Hill Youth minibus. The Budding Foundation’s support is wide ranging and includes days out and school uniform grants for families suffering financial hardship as well as travel grants and laptops for young people in higher education and determined to turn their lives around.
They have already spent some of the money raised this Christmas with a £3,000 grant to Sussex Nightstop, a charity who provide emergency accommodation to young homeless people aged between 16-25.
The introduction of a new grotto experience at Old Barn Garden Centre this year has seen the total amount raised increase from £23,000 to more than £41,000.
Clive Gravett, who runs the charity said,"We are so pleased to have been able to raise such a fantastic amount and this will make a real difference to families in Sussex. I would like to thank all the elves who gave up their free time to support us and everyone who came to visit Santa or just made a donation to the charity. I'd also like to thank Tates Garden Centres, who build the grottos for us each year and continue to support us with our ongoing projects in the local community."
For further information on the charity and its work, or to register your interest as a volunteer for next Christmas, visit www.thebuddingfoundation.co.uk