St Albans postbox toppers initiative raises over £25K for charities
- Credit: Chris Bennett
This year's St Albans Postboxes charity fundraiser has smashed past the £25,000 barrier to become the most successful yet.
For the third year, 50-plus knitted festive toppers could be found on postboxes around the city centre in the run-up to Christmas, and encouraged online donations to St Albans and District Foodbank and Open Door St Albans.
With the city facing swiftly tightening pandemic restrictions,
families embraced the opportunity to enjoy a Covid-safe outdoor activity, and this year's initiative has so far raised £25,120.95, including Gift Aid.
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Organiser Clare Suttie said: "This has been a labour of love by Candy Stuart, who brought together all the work done by her team of crochet and knitting magicians. The whole team has grown and we are indebted to everyone who helped, and every single person who donated. St Albans is surely the home of the Christmas postbox topper!
"Particular thanks are due to Candy and her team, Jenny Soppet-Smith from Digital Jen, Jez Levy from Eyes on St Albans, Caroline Piggott and our fabulous business sponsors who donated £5,000 before the toppers hit the streets.
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"I'd also like to thank all the amazing creators. 50 postbox toppers is a lot of wool, a lot of time, and a lot of talent. So rounds and rounds of applause for them all.
This year's toppers included a donation from Bristol resident Beverley Thompson, who requested it should be put on the Charmouth Road postbox to be enjoyed by her cousin Claire Jenkinson who lives nearby.
One of the postboxes even appeared as background for a piece on ITV News.
Foodbank manager Emma Dalton said: "We love the Postbox toppers at Christmas and we are really excited to see them this year. They bring such joy and delight to everyone.
"We have just experienced the busiest period in our six years of operating with some really unique challenges. I am proud of our volunteers and the community for rising to the challenge. Any support you can give us will go straight back to the poorest in our community.
"We aren't running any special projects or fundraising for anything in particular at this point in time, just the same fight of facing 'Food poverty in our local community' where many cannot afford the basic essentials to live their lives with dignity and without hunger."
Sarah Chambers from Open Door explained they would be using the donations to support the Winter Beds Project: "We're on max speed to be ready - we're busily preparing our new site for the Winter Beds Project and our individual pods arrive in January. We have the skip and new fencing going in this week and next, to make sure we are Covid-compliant - it's all been very tricky - but we have managed it.
"We will have four individual cabins, with heating, bed, toilet and shower in each. It's incredible and it will all be run by volunteers. Anyone who is rough sleeping will be able to access these emergency pods. Anyone in need of a bed will be accommodated by the council until the Project is up and running."
Some of this year's donations came from local businesses, including RAB Retail, who gave
Owner Richard Brown said: "I think it is a fabulous initiative and I have chosen it for my charity donation this year in lieu of Christmas cards to hopefully to spread some Christmas cheer!"
One generous anonymous donor gave £1,000 with the message: "We live in a relatively affluent and beautiful city - so we have the responsibility to help others who don't experience St Albans in the same way."
You can still donate to this year's St Albans Postboxes at