The Spirit of Christmas was in full swing at St George’s Market during December as the traders hosted a local charity each week to help raise much needed funds and awareness.
Traders regularly collect for local charities and are indeed known for their generosity throughout the year. This festive season traders pulled together and with the help of very generous customers they raised £1000’s and helped create greater awareness of local charities.
AwarenNI were absolutely delighted to be nominated for a charity stall and embraced the opportunity. They braved the coldest weather of the year to promote the work they do to raise some much needed funds. Aware is the only charity that works exclusively to help those affected by depression and bi-polar disorder; providing free of charge support groups and programmes that deliver mental health and wellbeing into local communities, colleges and workplaces. They were delighted to raise £700, “ Your donation will be used to help us to grow our support services as £15 pays for one young person to be educated in understanding symptoms of depression, £50 allows us to go into communities to provide mental health fitness. This will go a long way and we really appreciate that” said Lesley Wright from Aware.
Other charities to benefit were Women’s Aid, Dr Barnardos and Hosford Hostel based in East Belfast.
Women’s Aid welcomed the opportunity to really engage with the public in the week that they launched their “Break the Silence “ campaign which highlights the number of families affected through Domestic Violence. Women’s Aid run a 24 hour helpline, open to men, women and children and takes over 25000 calls a year providing a valuable front line service and is committed to eliminating domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Hosford Hostel brought a big team of volunteers, from their football team, choir and service users to St George’s and got a really warm welcome from customers and traders collecting £2000 over the 3 market days.
Hosford Hostel provides a 24-hour service for homeless people throughout the year. Sadly there is a greater demand than ever for their services, as homelessness is a major issue across UK. They take donations throughout the year and welcome volunteers who support the valuable work they do. Arlene Megaw, from Hosford said “£20 per week provides two lifeskills meals for 10 residents and the money raised at St George’s market will support our hardship fund. Many thanks for the great generosity from traders and customers, we love St George’s Market”
St George’s Market traders welcomed the theme “Spirit of St George’s” as they also wished one of our longterm traders, who collected for charity, Lilla, a big “Goodbye” as she retired at the spritely age of 83. “A true Angel who tirelessly collected for the mission, regularly sending containers to Africa, she will be missed by many” said Paddy Lynn chair of the Traders Association. “We are one big family at the market and we are loving being one of the top visitor attraction in NI. Each market day is different and each one is worth a visit!”