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Children’s charity launches Santa’s Virtual Grotto

Santa's virtual grotto. Credit: Shutterstock

The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity has launched its first ever Virtual Santa’s Grotto.

From Friday 5 December 2020, children across Wales will be able to receive a video call or message from Santa and experience the magic of Christmas from their front rooms.

The charity, which exists solely to raise funds for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales, still wants Christmas to be joyful for children and families despite the fact that this year is likely to feel different for most.

The organisation raises up to £1.6 million per year to fund equipment, facilities, and services at Wales’ national children’s hospital. It does not benefit from the funds raised through NHS Charities Together and since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in March, the charity has seen a 50% drop in income.

During the crisis, the Noah’s Ark Charity has supported children, families, and frontline staff at the hospital in whichever way necessary, for example funding food for parents and iPads for children to stay in touch with families at home. Now, with the end of the year fast approaching and a challenging winter ahead, the charity is also focussing its efforts in three key areas: funding the vital play therapy team, non-invasive ventilators for intensive care and its Sparkle Fund, which provides treats and light-hearted relief for families in hospital

Rachael Southcott, community and events officer at the Noah’s Ark Charity, says: “We know that Christmas will be a bit different this year, but we still want to make it as magical as we can. One of the highlights of our calendar each year is the Noah’s Ark Santa’s Grotto in IKEA Cardiff. We realised pretty early on that it was unlikely to go ahead this year, but knowing how much happiness it brings, we were determined to find another way of doing it.

That’s why, in partnership with our wonderful friends at IKEA Cardiff, we are offering this special Santa experience virtually in order to keep children and families both safe and happy. The event will be great fun for children and parents but will also raise funds needed to support the work of the children’s hospital. Santa has even reserved a very special slot for Noah’s Ark patients, so no-one misses out!”

There are two options available: a pre-recorded, personalised Santa message or a live video call with Santa, both priced at £15.

To book your place, please visit www.noahsarkcharity.org/santas-virtual-grotto