Northern Ireland’s Giving Tree has taken root at Belfast Christmas Market with more and more charities lining up to get involved in the drive to raise funds for hard hit communities.
The idea was planted last year when Belfast Christmas Market teamed up with Giving Northern Ireland to launch and host the first ever Giving Tree during the festive season.
Nineteen of Northern Ireland’s leading charities have already come forward to have a presence at the market in the run-up to Christmas.
Each charity is allocated three hour slots to encourage the public to make pledges of ‘time, talent or treasure’ and place them on the tree. Its aim is to encourage people to think about giving during the hectic holiday weeks.
The tree, which has been donated by Belfast Christmas Market traders Dutch Flowers on Tour, will be located beside their stall in the grounds of Belfast City Hall from November 23 to December 18.
It will also be used to highlight #Giving Tuesday, the worldwide social media phenomenon, which is the global charity sector’s response to ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ – the high volume consumer shopping days after Thanksgiving.
This year’s Giving Tuesday takes place on December 1 with a host of events taking place across the world to encourage people, businesses and charities to donate time, money or skills to help a good cause.
Sandara Kelso-Robb, Strategic Advisor of Giving Northern Ireland, said last year’s amazing success of the Giving Tree has led to more charities getting on board.
She added: “The Giving Tree proved to be a great hit with charities and members of the public alike and we are delighted that the Belfast Christmas Market is hosting it. Last year was our first time doing this initiative and it exceeded our expectations.
“The purpose of the tree is to help support and celebrate the #GivingTuesdayNI campaign which has linked up with countries across the world to spread the message that it’s good to give.”
Allan Hartwell, Managing Director of Market Place (operators of the Christmas Market) said:
‘We are happy to be doing our bit to help promote the great work of charities here. It was a no brainer for us, Giving Northern Ireland needed a location with good footfall to raise awareness and get donations for charities taking part in the initiative and with over 1.3million people expected to visit the market this year, we can certainly provide that.’
Giving Northern Ireland has designed a special Giving Tree Page and a Pledge Wall on its website. Special downloadable tags representing a bauble, a rocking horse, a Chrismas jumper, a Snowflake and a Tin Soldier have been provided to represent each pledge.