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Three Charities Benefit Courtesy of Shoppers During Season of Goodwill

Published on: 10 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 10 Jan, 2024

Three charities have received much-needed donations thanks to Christmas shoppers in the town centre.

Real Change Guildford has received just over £1,300 by way of donations from a gift-wrapping service held in the White Lion Walk shopping centre.

Organised by Experience Guildford (the town’s business improvement district service) and held over five days in December, shoppers could have their gift purchases wrapped by a team of volunteers and in doing so make a donation to Real Change Guildford.

It supports homeless people and rough sleepers access practical items and opportunities to build lives away from Guildford’s streets. That could mean clothes for a job interview, rent money up front or a training course to help them unlock their potential.

All ready for the gift-wrapping service in the Whie Lion Walk shopping centre.

Frankie Gale from Experience Guildford said: “The Real Change Annual Wrap has been a popular event since it was introduced in 2021, and this time saw the highest amount raised to date!

“We had a total of 25 wrapping volunteers, a lot of whom were completely new faces this year. They were in Guildford from 11am to 4pm each day ready for busy Christmas shoppers to stop by so they could wrap their presents for them. There were also ceramic baubles available to decorate for donations which was popular with families.

The wrappers were especially busy on December 22 and 23 with last-minute shoppers. Across these two days our highest singular donation was £150 with some people bringing in up to 30 presents for our volunteers to wrap!”

Voluntary Action South West Surrey assisted in the recruiting of the volunteers.

Meanwhile, The Friary shopping centre hosted two initiatives – the Christmas Tree Festival and the Giving Tree, raising smiles and support for 11 local charities. 

The Christmas Tree Festival showcased 10 beautifully decorated trees, each a unique creation by a local charity.

The Christmas Tree Festival in the The Friary shopping centre.

Visitors to the shopping centre were able to learn about the work these organisations do. People were encouraged to vote for their favourite best dressed tree, with the Royal Surrey Charity being named as the winner and given a £1,000 donation from The Friary. 

Other charities that participated included Art-Venture, Guildford Action, Guildford Cathedral, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, North Guildford Food Bank, Surrey Wildlife Trust, The Fountain Centre, The Salvation Army Guildford and Zero Carbon Guildford. 

The Giving Tree was in aid of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, (at Artington and Hampton) that support children and their families from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional, and medical care. 

Shoppers selected a tag and donated gifts to The Giving Tree, ensuring families of children being cared for Shooting Star’s two hospices could create special memories during the festive holidays.

A total of 250 gifts worth more than £6,200 were donated and delivered in time for Christmas with the kind support of fruit and vegetable wholesalers and retailers Cheesman Bros Ltd of Wood Street Village.

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