Santa’s grotto for the canopy
8:43am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
THE centenary canopy in Victoria Square will play host to Santa’s grotto over the festive season.
And the charities which usually trade there will be given use of the town centre Christmas ice rink and a market stall instead to help boost their coffers.
It was revealed at a council meeting that the canopy will host a nativity scene and grotto for four weeks from the start of December — a time when Conservative Cllr Mudasir Dean said charities used it to make vital income.
Speaking at the council meeting, Cllr Dean, who represents Bradshaw, said: “It’s important that we support our local charities.
“In light of the announcement that the charity canopy on the Town Hall square will be used to house Santa’s grotto and the nativity scene, does the council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris, feel this is sending the right message to local charities and community groups who would normally use this festive period to raise considerable funds when there is increased footfall?”
The Bolton News revealed last week how the square would host a 200-square metre ice rink from December 1 to January 6 as part of an effort to turn the area into a “winter wonderland”
to attract shoppers to the town.
Replying to Cllr Dean, Cllr Morris said community groups would be allowed to use the rink for their own events, and would also be able to use a stall on the Christmas market.
He told the council: “We work very closely with charities.
“This year we’ll have an ice rink which we’ve handed over on 10 occasions to raise funds. We’ll also have stalls and charities or community organisations which want to use one of those have only got to apply.”
The canopy was erected in 1984, funded by Marks and Spencer to mark the retailer’s centenary year.
It was originally established to raise awareness of charitable giving and good causes and is used by a variety of organisations for events such as tombolas and the sale of second hand goods and bric-a-brac.
● Charities were outraged when the council announced plans to move the stall to the outdoor market in Ashburner Street, but Town Hall chiefs made a U-turn in July and allowed charity sales to stay at the canopy.