St Albans yarn-bombers are at it again for Christmas
- Credit: St Albans Postbox Toppers
St Albans yarn-bombers are busy preparing for Christmas with plans for 82 crocheted or knitted postbox toppers to decorate the city and raise money for charity.
Founded by St Albans residents Clare Suttie and Candy Stuart in 2018, the trail of woolly wonders has raised over £64,000 for local charities.
Clare said: “I've always loved Christmas, but since starting St Albans Postboxes in 2018, it's become an even more special time of year! What started as a modest fundraising event with 23 toppers has been embraced by the people and businesses of the area, and you can feel the excitement building in November.
"The great thing about St Albans Postboxes is that it brings together the whole community - businesses sponsoring, individuals donating, local charities benefitting - bringing a smile to every face. 2021 sees a record number of toppers, a bigger team of volunteers and we can't wait to see everyone out and about finding them all.”
From December 1 people can follow the trail with toppers across the district including Park Street, Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Sandridge.
Jenny Smith of Digital Jen, who has been involved with the toppers since inception, said: “It takes around 24 hours of volunteer time to make each topper and our amazing team of yarn-bombers have gone above and beyond this year. So please download the app, and get ready for some seriously cheerful, inspired designs.”
Each postbox has a sponsor, which this year includes people from all over the globe! One man, based in Chicago, has sponsored the postbox outside his mum’s house as a surprise, knowing that they are not able to spend Christmas together this year.
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In 2019, Jez Levy of Marshalswick based opticians EYES on St Albans first got involved and funded the development of a digital trail, so people can enjoy and discover all the postboxes and easily donate via an App.
He said: “The trail has become something that the people of St Albans have come to love and treasure as a fantastic community activity that raises huge amounts of money and makes people smile.”
Every topper has a QR code which allows people enter the trail and donate. What’s more, once people have the App, they can scan each bar code for a chance to win fantastic prizes which have been donated by local businesses.
Organisers say that each year they expect 10 per cent of their toppers to be vandalised. To help combat this, they are urging people to keep an eye on their postboxes and alert them to any issues by dropping a note to PostboxPatrol@StAlbansPostBoxes.org.uk
This year’s charitable partners are Youth Talk, which provides free, confidential counselling to 13-25 year olds in St Albans and surrounding areas, and Hertfordshire based charity ADD-vance - that supports families affected by ADHD, Autism or a related condition.
CEO of Youth Talk David Barker is absolutely thrilled to be benefiting from this year’s postbox toppers campaign: “COVID has presented such great challenges for us all, and demand for our local counselling service has grown exponentially during the pandemic.
"Young people need us now more than ever before and we know that with our community behind us we can continue to be there for the growing numbers of young people who need our help and support.
"A huge thank you to everyone involved and the creative superstars who help make this delightful fundraiser possible, and of course our local businesses and community for their generous support.”
Debbie Wood, CEO of ADD-vance is overjoyed to have been chosen as one of the charities for this year’s postbox toppers campaign: “The past 18 months have been very difficult for us as a charity and the many families we help.
"Demand for our support is continually increasing and we are regularly adapting our offer to ensure families and professionals have the tools and strategies they need to support neuro-diverse children and help young people to thrive.
"Funds raised by this campaign will help to keep vital services - such as our free helpline and support groups running for the next year."
To support this project go to www.stalbanspostboxes.org.uk/