Companies, councils, and locals are coming together to Save Santa this Christmas through a national online campaign to raise funding for festive high street decorations. Civic crowdfunding platform, Spacehive, is calling on companies to help cash strapped towns and London boroughs secure the funds needed to bring festive cheer to our high streets – from sparking Christmas lights, to trees and bustling winter markets.
Data giant, Experian was the first to back the campaign, offering a war chest of up to £5,000 per yuletide project. Retail body BCSC (British Council of Shopping Centres) has put £10,000 up for grabs. More firms are now being called on to help to fund the festivities by pledging funding direct to local projects on the Save Santa campaign website.
Increasingly towns and boroughs have been working with local chambers of commerce and business groups to fund Christmas decorations but further pressure on council budgets means many towns will struggle to find funding this year. They are a major pull for shoppers and vital to the economic health of Britain’s local high streets.
This year, with 125 days left until Christmas, the Save Santa campaign has been launched to help many more towns and London boroughs raise cash by encouraging companies to match-fund projects. The campaign has already been backed by leading retailers including Tesco, Argos and Boots, as well as public bodies like London Councils, the group representing London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London.
Chris Gourlay, founder of Spacehive, stated,“We have a saying which is, ‘You Scrooge, you lose.’ Even if people only chip in a few pounds, they’ll see what a massive difference it makes if a great idea is shared. Christmas is an amazing time to build community and remind people of the value of high streets. Save Santa is something we hope will inspire people to come together and ensure that austerity doesn’t prevent high streets having their names up in lights.”
Mayor Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils, noted: “London boroughs have effectively managed a 35 per cent cut in their funding since 2010, while delivering improvements in services and the environment. However, they continue to face hard decisions on funding for non-statutory services such as arts and cultural events.
“Crowdfunding provides an excellent opportunity for councils, businesses and residents to work together to realise projects that are valued by their communities. This campaign will help ensure Christmas is as special this year in London as it always is and will help bring communities together.”
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