The Ridings Centre in Wakefield has rounded off a bumper 2019 by helping local charities raise more than £2,000 and donating more than 700 toys and gifts to a wide range of good causes across the Yorkshire region.
It’s been a fantastic festive season for the centre, which has seen footfall figures up against the national average. Customers have been incredibly generous and donated more than 700 toys and gifts at the centre’s Giving Tree; the gifts will go to those who need a sprinkle of Christmas cheer the most, including Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, Groundwork Yorkshire, Second Chance Children’s Charity, Trussell Trust Food Bank Normanton and Women’s Aid. The Ridings also gifted free space in the centre to several local charities, which allowed more than £2,000 to be raised for the causes.
Father Christmas has certainly been a hit with little ones, as more than 200 children visited him free of charge in his North Pole grotto in the centre. Local people came out in their thousands to see Wakefield’s Britain’s Got Talent star Siobhan Phillips switch on the Christmas lights, and it’s been a good year for the centre’s retailers too, with many trading in double digit growth.
The festivities come at the end of an exciting year for The Ridings. The centre’s popular Cuppa Club initiative, which gives older people the opportunity to meet up and enjoy afternoon tea, was rolled out in NewRiver centres across the country in February.
The centre opened a new rooftop allotment, which is free to use, in June and had to expand the scheme within a month due to its huge popularity. The biggest news of the year came in August, when the centre opened its brand new, state-of-the-art Reel Cinema. It has been an enormous success in the centre, with thousands of people watching the latest films in the 5 screen luxury cinema.
Lee Appleton, centre manager at The Ridings Centre, said: “It has been a busy but hugely successful year for us at The Ridings and we couldn’t be prouder of our team for the effort they have put in to getting all our new schemes and projects up and running.
“The centre has seen growth this year; the cinema and community enterprises such as our work with the allotments and Normanton food bank have allowed us to become more connected with the local community than ever before, and we have felt a real positive shift in the way people are using the centre not just for its retail offering, but as a community hub.
“We regularly hear about how tough the climate is for retail in town centres, so we’re pleased to have recorded a year of good results. Long may this continue into 2020 and beyond.”