Brighton and Hove’s iconic Santa Bus, adorned in festive glory, wrapped up its 20th annual journey, collecting an impressive £37,620.05 for local charities. The festive event spanned 20 nights in December, bringing together the community, charity enthusiasts, and cheerful volunteers aboard a specially decorated open-top bus.
Throughout December, thousands of residents graced the 20 different routes, contributing to the grand sum through nightly bucket collections. The generosity extended beyond the streets, with donations pouring in from local businesses’ collection points and a dedicated online Go Fund Me page. The cumulative total amassed over two decades now stands at an impressive £417,500.
The director of Metrobus and Brighton and Hove Buses expressed admiration for the amount raised, stating, “What an incredible sum, especially during the current economic climate, and a remarkable display of generosity from everyone who has supported and donated to Santa Bus charities.”
Acknowledging the pivotal role the Santa Bus has played in Brighton, he remarked, “This event has become one of the city’s most anticipated and cherished annual traditions. A sincere thank you to everyone who contributes, including the teams of nightly volunteers and all who come out to donate and to give Santa and his helpers a festive wave.”
Between 20 and 30 dedicated volunteers supported the Santa Bus, collectively contributing an impressive 1,876 hours of donated time. This volunteer spirit encapsulates the essence of community collaboration that defines the success of the Santa Bus initiative.
The funds raised will be distributed equally among the 20 deserving charities, providing vital support to local causes. Among the beneficiaries is the Martlets hospice, Fareshare Sussex – a surplus food distribution charity, and the Anne Bickmore Children’s (ABC) Fund, a charity dedicated to supporting children and families facing adversity.
The Chair of the ABC Fund expressed heartfelt gratitude, stating, “The ABC Fund provides trips and treats for local children and families who are facing adversity.” The fund’s impactful initiatives include Pantomime visits, food hampers, books, arts and crafts, and days out to theme parks. The lasting impact of these experiences, providing children with cherished memories, was emphasized.
“We extend a heartfelt thank you to Brighton and Hove Buses, the operators of the Santa Bus, as the funds raised will contribute to bringing smiles to the faces of many young people,” she added.
The success of the Santa Bus goes beyond monetary figures; it symbolizes the unity and compassion thriving within the community. The 20 years of unwavering support and the impressive fundraising total underscore Brighton’s commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those in need.
As the Santa Bus bids farewell to another successful year, the echoes of festive cheer and community solidarity linger, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of Brighton residents. The legacy of the Santa Bus continues, promising more smiles, joy, and charitable giving in the years to come.