Home-Start opens Arndale Christmas grotto at VIP launch party

There is literally no time like Christmas. That may be a cliché but Manchester Arndale is breathing new life into it as the centre has brought some festive cheer to families once again this year. Last night, Manchester Arndale hosted a VIP launch party, which saw the opening of Santa’s Christmas tree star grotto in the centre by Halle Sqaure.

Manchester-based charity Home-Start’s managers and volunteers – from the seven Home-Start centres across the region – were also present at the party that saw families joining in the festive revelry.

Having recently been selected as Manchester Arndale’s Charity Star 2015/2016, Home-Start Greater Manchester came to the centre to kick-start a year of events. Young party goers enjoyed festive face painting whilst Santa’s helpers at the grotto got into character at the party.

You’ll have to book your tickets to see Santa at his grotto however, as Christmas’ main man is at the centre from 19 November to 24 December. Pre-booked tickets are at £4.50 per child (plus booking fee) during off-peak times, and £5.50 (plus booking fee) during peak times, which includes a free gift.

Home-Start is the region’s leading family support organisation. With 500 volunteers and 500 families, the charity offers vital support to Greater Manchester families and 1,700 children who are struggling to cope and may be at crisis point. Trained volunteers offer practical and emotional support to families in their own homes.

Home-Start Trafford & Salford Manager Kathryn Eckersley said after the party that, “The families that we support, and who came along on the night, had a fabulous time. One of the parents we support said: ‘Thank you for making us feel so special.’

We are really looking forward to working with Manchester Arndale over the coming year; having such amazing corporate support is going to make such a difference to our work with parents and children across Greater Manchester”.

The Arndale team has also planned a year of fundraising until November 2016, including bake-offs, sponsored sports events, dressing up days and pampering evenings.

David Allinson, Centre Director at Manchester Arndale recently said: “This year we wanted to move fundraising from just our charity gift wrap service, to deliver a full year of activity to raise the maximum amount for one worthy cause”.

Santa will definitely be waiting for you until Christmas Eve but opening times vary.
Until Sunday 29 November, the grotto will be open from 10am to 7pm between Monday and Friday, 9am to 7pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

From Monday 30 November Santa will be in his tree from 10am to 8pm between Monday and Friday, 9am to 7pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

Monday 21 and Wednesday 23 December, the grotto will be open from 9am to 8pm, with Christmas Eve being 9am to 4pm.

TNT News Yasin Chinembiri

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