Purpose-built grotto to be Santa’s home for town centre Christmas campaign

Construction students at Northampton College have got themselves on the nice list this Christmas by designing a purpose-built grotto for Santa.

The grotto is taking pride of place in Grosvenor Shopping Northampton as part of the town centre’s festive celebrations, and will be home to Santa in the build-up to Christmas.

Level Three carpentry students were involved in the design and build of the grotto, having been commissioned by Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) to create the festive centrepiece.

More than 1,000 families are expected to visit the grotto this Christmas.

Mark Mullen, operations manager at Northampton Town Centre BID, said: “Giving local students the opportunity to play their part in our festive celebrations is really important to us as we urge everyone to take pride in their town and shop local this Christmas.

“The students have done a fantastic job and our grotto is the perfect place to see Santa this Christmas.”

The grotto, which has been part-funded by Northampton Town Council, features windows showing a hand-painted Christmas scene produced by college teacher Janne Phillips and professional signwriting by the experienced David Brown.

Mark Bradshaw, curriculum manager for construction at Northampton College, said: “The students have worked incredibly hard to bring this project together and it’s so rewarding for them to be able to produce something that will be enjoyed by thousands of people at such a special time of the year.”

Students involved in the project included Jayden Nyalaya, Ethan Moylan, Jack Haddon, Leo Tigwell, Harley Pettigrew, Elliott Coles, Thomas Donald, Louis Judge, Ben Warr and Ben Clift.

Cllr Keith Holland-Delamere, Deputy Chair of the Community Services Committee at Northampton Town Council, said: “A visit to Santa’s Grotto really brings the Christmas experience to life, so we are pleased to partner with Northampton Town Centre BID, through joint-funding the build costs and providing gift packs for the children who visit.

“Northampton College students have done a great job of building the grotto and it’s wonderful to see their skills being used to help raise money for a good cause and spread some festive cheer.”

The grotto will open on Saturday, 25 November to coincide with the town council’s light switch-on event in Becket’s Park and will then be open every weekend in December and all week from 18-22 December.

Families can book in advance for just £1, with all proceeds going to charity. For more details visit www.northamptonbid.co.uk

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