The Story of Lockleaze's Christmas Tree 2016
Published on: 29 Sep 2016
The Story of Lockleaze Christmas Tree 2016 – as told by Rachel Varley
On 3rd December, we gathered on Gainsborough Square for the 2nd annual Lockleaze Christmas lights switch on. Lots of fun was had by all who witnessed the lights being switched on by a special guest and joined in with singing and hot chocolate at The Hub. This year we expanded the illuminations to include fairy lights in some of the trees and on the stage. You may have noticed that the tree this year was different too. Our fabulous 12ft artificial tree was provided by lovely residents, Emma and Craig, and will be here for a few Christmases whilst we work towards our end goal of having a real tree planted.
So, how did we find the money to put a Christmas tree on the Square this year? It started off with some online crowdfunding and fundraising; donation pots were put into some of the local community venues and residents of Lockleaze were encouraged to join in by giving a little – people were generous!
The original idea was to replicate the tree from last year, but when we learned of the high cost involved with something so temporary, it was felt by local residents that it would be better to explore alternative routes using any money we were able to raise.
So, we continued to fundraise with the idea that the more we raised, the better the tree! Local businesses were invited to donate raffle prizes and, with the help of Jitu, David & Rachel, lots of tickets were sold for the prize draw.
A generous donation of £300 was received from United Communities to add to the pot and after discussions with relevant Bristol City Council staff, it was agreed that the artificial tree would be erected this year. As a community, our fundraising efforts totalled £657.28 – well done everyone!
After some communication with the owners of Eastgate Shopping Centre, Consolidated Property Group, they very generously donated £2000 towards our cause which enabled us to install more lights into the smaller trees around the Square and onto the stage and fencing.
This year’s Christmas tree has been quite a journey and a real joint effort, bringing neighbours and people who love Lockleaze together to make something happen. Whether you gave a donation, bought a raffle ticket, came to the lights switch on event, spread the word or something more, you have been a part of raising community and Christmas spirit in Lockleaze this year – THANK YOU!
Community Development Officer Sam Parker comments, “A Big Thank You to Rachel Varley. As some of you will know Rachel is a local resident and worker at Connect Lockleaze. This winter Rachel took on the massive responsibility of organising the Lockleaze Christmas tree and lights. This is not an easy task but Rachel was triumphant in bringing the community together to ensure the event went well and we all have beautiful lights to enjoy on Gainsborough Square. All of this was done on her own time as a volunteer so we would like to say a huge ‘Thank You Rachel for everything you do for Lockleaze’. If you know Rachel please give her your thanks also.”
There are so many people to thank, but it really wouldn’t have happened without…
Emma Woodward & Craig Knight – for the tree, putting it up, decorating it & more!
Hayley & Guy Swift & Gail Chandler – for putting up the fence
Jody Cook – for helping coordinate the lights switch on event
Suzanne, Rob, Ilanie, Matt, Sophie & Lockleaze Craft Group – for help with the lights switch on event
Sam Parker, Chris Richardson, Alex Wood & Beth Dobson – for help to make the lights work
Cllrs Estella Tincknell & Gill Kirk – for support with fundraising
Caroline Hollies & colleagues at Bristol City Council – for providing us with contacts & support
The Hub, Boing Soft Play, Buzz Lockleaze, Lockleaze Costcutter, Filton Avenue Primary School & UWEStudents’ Union – for helping us gather cash donations
Consolidated Property Group – for their donation towards lights on the Square
United Communities – for their donation towards the Christmas tree
Bristol Noise, Bendry Brothers & The Christmas Decorators – for last minute help with fencing, lights and other equipment
Raffle Prize donations from:
Sam’s Sanctuary Gardening Services
The Treatment Room, Cheswick
Boston Tea Party, Cheswick
Co-Op, Gloucester Road