Can Santa be saved by crowdfunding Christmas in Havering?

Can crowdfunding save Christmas?

Can crowdfunding save Christmas? - Credit: Archant

Community events organisers are crowdfunding Christmas by asking residents to raise £15,564 – but so far Scrooge is winning as only £356 has been raised.

Three community groups in Hornchurch, Collier Row, and Rainham are asking for donations on a funding website in an effort to “save Santa” and throw festive parties that residents deserve.

But they now have less than 40 days to hit the fundraising target.

Havering Council will provide a tree, lights and organise road closures. But it has recommended that the groups use Spacehive for the rest of the funding.

Collier Row Community Group is organising the area’s Christmas Cracker event and hopes to host entertainment, including real-life reindeers.

But chairwoman Lesley Haylett said: “If we don’t make the total, we will have to make cutbacks.

“We really don’t want to do an event which isn’t as good as previous ones.”

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None of the donations will go to the Christmas events if the full total is not reached within the time period.

The Rainham Christmas Lights page has received just £235 from 10 pledgers – with just 32 days to go. The chairman of Rainham Association for Village Events admitted it is “struggling”.

Chairman Miles Alexander said: “We’ve not received as much support as we hoped.

“We run the risk of the event having to be toned down and made much smaller than we would like it to be.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone so we wanted to make it a good day out.”

The Hornchurch Christmas Cracker has yet to receive any donations.

Spacehive founder Chris Gourlay said: “We have a saying which is, ‘You Scrooge, you lose.’

“Save Santa is something we hope will inspire people to come together and ensure that austerity doesn’t prevent high streets having their names up in lights.”

Data company Experion will donate an extra £5,000 per project if the totals are met.

Cllr Robert Benham, the council’s environment boss, said: “Crowdfunding is a new way to raise additional money for such community events and, by working with Spacehive, there are some opportunities for match-funding. The funds raised could help to enhance any entertainment on the day at these popular events.”

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