Festive fundraising fun in West Sussex

From a grotto to Christmas concert, individuals, groups and businesses support Chestnut Tree House in a variety of ways during the festive period, but they all have one thing in common – raising vital funds for their local children’s hospice.

Long-term supporters, Newbridge Nurseries Garden Centre in Broadbridge Heath, have raised an impressive £25,600 for Chestnut Tree House since 2012 – enough to pay for over three days of the charity’s care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. This year, Newbridge Nurseries are giving their fundraising efforts a special boost with a magical ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ themed grotto.

Chestnut Tree House Community Fundraiser, Jayne Todd said: “We are so grateful for the ongoing support from Newbridge Nurseries. They always put so much effort into making their Christmas grotto a really special experience for children, while raising vital funds for Chestnut Tree House. Without support like this, we wouldn’t be able to continue helping local life-limited children and their families, so on behalf of everyone at the hospice, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you. There is still time to visit the grotto at Newbridge Nurseries, so please pay them a visit. And you never know, you might even get one of the special golden tickets!”

Organised in partnership with Billingshurst Rotary Club, the 2018 charity Christmas grotto has been open since 25 November, and is still offering children a chance to meet Santa on selected dates before Christmas. Run entirely by volunteers, who are generously donating their time, the Grotto is open on 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 December, and costs £6 per child. Every child receives a gift from Santa, with special prizes for anyone with a golden ticket, and all proceeds are donated to Chestnut Tree House.

From a Roald Dahl-themed grotto to something a bit more traditional, a Christmas Carol Concert took place at The Walled Gardens, Cowdray, on Sunday 2 December. With music from a local choir and Petworth Town Band, the event has been held for a number of years, and this year raised £4,000, which will allow two children to have a three-night break at Chestnut Tree House, where they will receive specialist care and be able to enjoy the hydrotherapy pool, relax in the multi-sensory room and join in with a host of activities.

Tickets for the carol concert were sold in aid of the Lions Club, who generously donated £500 to Chestnut Tree House. The remaining £3,500 was raised from an auction, with a range of prizes from local businesses on offer, including Champagne Afternoon Tea, a Christmas wreath, and a specially-designed cake.

Jenny Murrell, Community Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said: “£4,000 is an amazing amount to raise in one evening, and we would like to thank the organisers and everyone who attended the Christmas concert at The Walled Gardens, as well as the Lions Club for donating part of the ticket sales. We need to raise £6,850 every day to pay for all the specialist care services at Chestnut Tree House, so this money really will make a difference, and help us to continue caring for children with life-shortening conditions and their families.”

Chestnut Tree House opened its doors on 11 November 2003 and currently provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this vital service is over £3.9 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 6% central government funding so relies on the generosity and support of the local community to continue providing vital care to local children and families.

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