Over 1,600 people attended Santa’s Grotto at Thistles shopping centre, Stirling, raising £5,853.50 for charity

Families from across Stirling and Forth Valley flocked to Thistles shopping centre between November and December to visit Santa in his magical Grotto, with 1,605 people attending. The first time the seasonal event has been held in honour of a local charity, visitors to the Grotto raised a total of £5,853.50 for Strathcarron Hospice.

The latest initiative in the centres #ThistlesHelps campaign, the shopping centre opted to partner with long-term charity partner Strathcarron Hospice for the Grotto, in a bid to give back following another challenging year for the charity. An event which proves to be in high demand each year, in 2021 Thistles introduced a £5 ticket charge, with all proceeds being donated directly to Strathcarron Hospice.

This year proved more popular than ever, with additional time slots created to accommodate demand from families across Stirling, Forth Valley and further afield. The Grotto offered families an elevated festive experience with a winter wonderland tunnel, the opportunity to write a letter to Santa with the help of some of his elves and then a visit with the man himself, complete with a Christmas gift.

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, said: “We are thrilled at the response from the public to our Santa’s Grotto and that together we have raised such a fantastic amount of money for Strathcarron Hospice.  The event proved to be so popular that we had to add additional dates which meant that we were able toraise as much money as possible for charity.

“Last year we launched our #ThistlesHelps campaign, which has been our way of giving back to the local community as we all began to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. We look forward to bringing even more charitable initiatives to the people of Stirling over the next year and continuing to enhance the visitor experience at our centre for local shoppers and visitors to the region.”

Claire Kennedy, community fundraiser at Strathcarron Hospice, commented: “We were delighted to be the beneficiary charity of the Thistles Santa’s Grotto this year. It was a magical experience for all the children and families who visited the Grotto and every penny raised through ticket sales and purchases on the day have gone direct to patient care both in the Hospice and in people’s own homes.

We need to raise £14,315 every day to keep our services running and thanks to the local community and partnerships like this one, we can continue to provide specialist palliative care to people who need us at the end of life.”

The success of Thistles’ #ThistlesHelps campaign was one of the many ways the shopping centre helped give back to the community over the festive season, earlier in December pupils of Riverside and Our Lady’s RC Primary School surprised the residents of Abbeyfield House care home with personalised Christmas cards to spread some Christmas joy in a time that can be lonely for many.

For more information on Thistles and #ThistlesHelps, visit www.thistlesstirling.com.

October 2022 issue

2022 A1 Buyers Guide

Buyers Guide 2022