The enchantment of Christmas graced Bradford South this week, courtesy of a special festive donation from Bradford College.

Responding to an urgent sponsorship appeal by local councillors for assistance in constructing and adorning a sleigh for Santa, Bradford College intervened just in time for a series of delightful Santa breakfasts for the local children.

Chris Hayden, Eccleshill Ward Councillor said; “Last Christmas, hundreds of people in Ravenscliffe and Greengates turned out to watch a spectacular Santa parade after we borrowed a sleigh made by Baildon Men’s Shed. The volunteer team, myself, and Councillor Andy Walsh (Wyke Ward Councillor and CEO at Sandale Trust), hoped to expand Santa’s route this year and incorporate more Bradford postcodes with a higher proportion of social housing. However, the sleigh was no longer available.

“Not to be thwarted, Councillor Andy Walsh set his team about designing and building a brilliant new sleigh from a converted camping trailer! This is to be maintained by the newly formed ‘BD10 Community Events’ group, in partnership with Sandale Community Trust and students at Bradford College.

“The project team received the support of local youth services and community centres to assist with the project, however an appeal needed to be launched to cover the construction costs, decoration costs, and the costs for running the events. Funding for these projects is more vital than ever as, sadly, the demand for welfare and community support is only rising.”

In a gesture of seasonal goodwill, Bradford College lent its support to ensure the annual parades could proceed. The festivities commenced with a series of complimentary Santa breakfasts for the local community at Sandale Community Hub in Buttershaw on December 18th and 20th.

Cllr Andy Walsh continued; “We are thrilled to make so many wishes come true this Christmas, thanks to the support of great partners like Bradford College and Incommunities Ltd, Sandale Community Trust volunteers, and generous donations from the local church and members of the public. We rely on the generosity of others to make these simple but massively impactful events happen.

“Christmas is a costly time of year, and getting tickets to meet Santa is just too expensive for many struggling families. I remember how magical it was as a kid, and I’d hate for any children to miss out on that experience. That’s why we put on these free breakfasts for local children and their families – so they can all enjoy a free meal, experience seeing Santa arrive outside on his sleigh, and visit our special grotto to receive their present.”

Bradford College has long been a steadfast partner of Sandale Community Trust. Earlier this year, twelve Level 3 Business students from the college gained invaluable work experience by assisting in managing the charity’s operations. Additionally, the Bradford College Students’ Union collected donations of toys, non-perishable food, toiletries, and warm winter clothes for local community hubs and charities, including Sandale Community Trust.

Sarah Towan, Bradford College Vice Principal for Recruitment & Communications, said; “It’s fantastic to support such a great cause – Sandale really do amazing work. As the community college for Bradford, we are relentless in our ambition to support local people wherever we can.”

The Santa breakfasts represent just one of the many initiatives overseen by Sandale Community Trust for residents of Buttershaw and Woodside. Other winter projects include Coats 4 Community (in collaboration with the Recycled Teenagers group), social supermarkets with free delivery, a surplus food café, services for older people ranging from befriending to a free Christmas dinner, a Secret Santa appeal collecting over 1,500 gifts annually, and safe and warm children’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) clubs.