Christmas may be looking different this year but in Mansfield there will still be plenty of ways to spread some festive cheer.
Guided by COVID-19 restrictions, the council took the difficult decision to cancel this year's popular annual Christmas lights switch-on event.
Instead, there will be a weekend of virtual entertainment on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November and the council has launched public appeals to support those in need. The Secret Santa Appeal and bauble sponsorship scheme will enable the distribution of Christmas gifts and food to vulnerable families via the council's temporary accommodation, Mansfield Children’s Centre Service and the FOOD clubs set up in some of the most deprived areas.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: "The council will be doing everything it can to boost morale and encourage community togetherness. Our focus is on the community this year to support people who may be in real difficulty due to the pandemic. Anyone can help spread some cheer by supporting our Secret Santa Appeal or by sponsoring a bauble on the Christmas tree in the Market Place. There will also be fun and Christmas spirit in our online Festive Festival."
Secret Santa Appeal
The council has teamed up with the local radio station, Mansfield 103.2, to be the main sponsor for this year’s King's Mill Hospital Toy Appeal, which relies on businesses and the community to raise money for poorly children on Ward 25.
The council's Secret Santa Appeal will run alongside the toy appeal to support other vulnerable people in the district who are struggling physically, emotionally and financially.
People are encouraged to donate via the Secret Santa crowdfunding page (opens in new window) to raise funds for the council to give gifts to people who may not receive much for Christmas this year. The council will support local businesses, who are also struggling due to the pandemic, by buying gifts from them for members of the community who need them most.
The public’s generosity will help the council to buy gifts in the following categories: women, men, boys aged 0-5, boys aged 5-12, girls aged 0-5 and girls aged 5-12.
Mansfield Children’s Centre Service will be helping the council to distribute the gifts to their network of families who are most in need of receiving a festive boost. This is in addition to the services and programme of activity they provide to families all year round. Visit the Mansfield Children's Centre Service Facebook page (opens in new window) to see what help they can provide in your area.
Sponsor a bauble
The council is also aiming to raise £1,000 in sponsorship to support households facing food shortages this Christmas. The money will be spent on providing Christmas dinners and other seasonal luxuries and distributed in the community via the FOOD clubs, set up by Mansfield District Council during the Covid pandemic.
Monetary donations will also boost soup kitchens, homelessness charities and the Gift of Christmas group, to provide emergency food supplies to those in need this winter.
Visit the Sponsor a Bauble crowdfunding page (opens in new window) to make a donation. Leave a festive message of support when you donate and these will be shared on the council's social media pages. Selected messages from those who donate £30 or more will get a thank-you message displayed on the Mansfield town centre Christmas tree.
Virtual entertainment will be posted on the council's Facebook page on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November, including:
- Christmas singalongs
- Christmas craft videos
- Cookery videos
- Homemade gift inspiration
- Get fit for St Nick! Festive fitness video
- Letter to Santa writing activity.
See our Christmas webpage for more details and updates.
Whilst Christmas 2020 will be different for everyone, Mansfield District Council is determined to provide some festive cheer to vulnerable people in the town, bringing communities together and providing virtual entertainment for all to access.