Charity to launch free shopping centre grotto

News | Published 14th November 2017

St George’s Shopping Centre is once again joining forces with Galloway’s Society for the Blind to spread festive cheer this Christmas, with free grotto and gift wrapping service.

The grotto will be open from Saturday, November 25, while shoppers will be able to get their gifts wrapped from Wednesday, December 13th.

Galloway’s, which has operated the grotto for many years, relies on over 450 volunteer hours throughout December to make Christmas magical for local children, so is appealing for volunteers to ensure its success.

Emma Russ, senior fundraiser at Galloway’s, commented: “If you have some spare time this December and would like to help us make Christmas magical for the local community – then we have just the opportunities for you. Our volunteer roles range from gift wrapping, ‘elf-ing out’ or even acting as a body double for Santa himself.

“No previous experience is needed and all costumes and training is provided. Some volunteers donate two hours, others donate in excess of 30 hours over the month, but every single offer of help makes a world of difference to the experience we’re able to offer to the community.

“Over the years, our efforts at St George’s have raised thousands of pounds which has enabled Galloway’s to support even more people through sight loss – a challenging and life-changing experience.”

Galloway’s need to raise in excess of £1million to support over 7,000 blind and partially sighted people every year.

Andrew Stringer, general manager at St George’s Shopping Centre, added: “We’ve teamed up with Galloway’s once again to offer local children a free fun grotto experience, while our free gift wrapping service will take the hassle out of wrapping for shoppers.

“While both services are free we would encourage shoppers to give a little something back in the form of a donation to Galloway’s.

“Plus, if you have some time spare this year to help as a Santa body double or a gift wrapper, then we’d love to hear from you.”

Charlotte Carnell, 20, Volunteer Elf, added: “I volunteered in the grotto last year and it was such a wonderful experience. I did one day a week as an elf in the grotto, my role was to take and print pictures of the children with Santa along with manage the queue. It was really helpful to add the customer service experience to my CV too. The team of volunteers were brilliant to work with, being part of something so humbling and festive made Christmas a really great experience for me. I’d recommend it to anybody who wants to spread some cheer and has some free time this December.”

The Galloway’s Grotto will open on Saturday, November 25th and run every Saturday and Sunday up to and including December 10th. From December 13th, the grotto will be open 11am-5pm every day until Christmas Eve. The gift wrapping service will be open daily from December 13th.

To find out more and volunteer your time this Christmas contact Emma Russ at Galloway’s on emma.russ@galloways.org.uk.

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