THOUSANDS of schoolchildren across the Capital will be given the chance to ice-skate for free this festive season.
Edinburgh’s Christmas have teamed up with Standard Life to offer 10,000 children free tickets to take a spin on the UK’s only eclipse-shaped ice-rink situated at the heart of St Andrew Square.
Parents will be able to apply on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website when they distribute a unique code to each city school later this year.
Tickets will only be available to pupils in full-time primary or secondary education, and those under the age of 11 will have to be accompanied by an adult while on the ice.
Edinburgh’s Christmas kicks off on November 18 and will sparkle through until January 7 next year.
As well as a dazzling ice rink amidst the fairy lights, St Andrew Square also promises new food stalls and a Christmas nativity scene to add to the celebrations. Other new attractions will be unveiled later.
The free skating tickets follow Standard Life’s decision to sponsor this year’s ice rink.
The insurance giant – one of Edinburgh’s largest employers – have had offices on the corner of George Street and St Andrew Square for years. The company, which has operated since 1825, will also be opening its new offices in the square next year.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, organisers of Edinburgh’s Christmas, said “We are delighted that Standard Life has come on board as partners and sponsors of Edinburgh’s Christmas.
“As one of Edinburgh’s largest employers their investment in the city and its communities is an important part of the cities ecology and support of the popular ice rink in St Andrew Square a perfect way to celebrate their roots in Edinburgh.
“10,000 school children will have the opportunity to skate for free on the ice rink this year thanks to Standard Life’s support, which is a fantastic gift to the city’s families.”
Those applying for free tickets online will also be invited to make a donation to Place2Be, the charity partner chosen by Standard Life’s employees in the UK.
Place2Be is a national children’s mental health charity providing in-school support and expert training to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and school staff. They are currently working with a number of pupils across Edinburgh.
Last year, Edinburgh’s Christmas sold more than 61,000 tickets for the ice rink.
Graeme McEwan, a spokesman for Standard Life, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the Edinburgh Christmas festival this year and to be giving Edinburgh’s school children the opportunity to join in all the fun, right here on our doorstep.
“Our offices overlook St Andrew Square, so sponsoring the much-loved ice rink is the perfect way for us to celebrate our heritage here in Edinburgh and to support our community.”
Underbelly and Unique Events were confirmed three years ago as the collaborative producers of the Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events programmes on behalf of the city council.
Edinburgh’s Christmas won the Best Festival at the 2014 UK Event Awards.