A record number of locals snapped up discounted tickets for Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations with 186,799 people taking advantage of the 20 per cent markdown for EH postcode holders – a 31 per cent increase on 2017.
Edinburgh’s Christmas also raised £44,000 and gave out 28,000 free tickets to Edinburgh and Scotland-wide charities.
50p from every ticket sold for Silent Light, a silent disco party, went to support One City Trust.
Almost £20,000 was raised this way and will help the charity’s work fighting inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh.
A further 16,013 free Silent Light tickets were given away with 36 local charities benefiting, such as Aid and Abet who work with people leaving prison to help them in recovery and to avoid homelessness, Edinburgh Young Carers dedicated to working with and supporting young carers, North Edinburgh Childcare who provide flexible and affordable childcare enabling parents to access training and education, Barnardo’s Edinburgh who care for vulnerable children and young people and Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre.
On 1 December, Edinburgh’s Christmas took part in St Andrew’s Fair Saturday, and on that day, all proceeds from Silent Light went to support three charities: Deafblind Scotland, National Deaf Children Society and Royal National Institute of Blind People. With over 3,200 people attending Silent Light that day, Edinburgh’s Christmas raised £11,807 for the charities.
Every year, Edinburgh’s Christmas works very closely with The Trussell Trust food banks around the city, encouraging residents to donate non-perishables, toiletries and unwanted Christmas gifts to a food bank donation point located at the Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens.
On top of hundreds of kilograms of donations this year, Edinburgh’s Christmas raised just under £1,000 in financial donations for the food banks and gave 12,000 free tickets to their users.
Edinburgh’s Christmas 2018 charity partner was NSPCC who work with children who’ve been abused to rebuild their lives, protect children at risk, and find the best ways of preventing child abuse from ever happening. Voluntary donations, make up around 90 per cent of their funding to help this great cause. Through box office and charity collections on Edinburgh streets – including the official start of the festive season in the city, Light Night – Edinburgh’s Christmas raised £12,044 for NSPCC.
Paul Cockram, NSPCC Scotland Head of Fundraising, said: “We are so grateful for the amazing generosity of the public in raising this money which will go towards preventing abuse and helping children in Scotland who need this vital support.
“It has been a fantastic experience to continue our relationship with Underbelly and Edinburgh’s Christmas. This support enables us to continue our work to ensure that we can support more children and families.”
Directors of Underbelly and Edinburgh’s Christmas Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, added: “We are immensely proud of Edinburgh’s Christmas events raising a whopping £44,000 to support Edinburgh and Scotland-wide charities and we would like to thank all those who made this happen, if you popped a pound in one of the charity buckets, added a donation when you bought a ticket or came and bopped along to Silent Light - it really adds up to a huge difference to the charities. In our sixth year of producing Edinburgh’s Christmas we are also delighted to see almost one-third increase in tickets bought with the 20% discount for EH postcode holders which clearly shows Edinburgh residents enjoy the city’s Christmas celebrations.
“We can’t wait to share Edinburgh’s Christmas 2019 programme with you later this year.”
The six week long festive celebrations in the city included the Christmas Market in East Princes Street Gardens, including Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar on the Mound, the outdoor elliptical ice rink in St Andrew Square wrapped around Rekorderlig Cider Lodge to the Festival Square Spiegeltent shows, You Choose and Baby Loves Disco for children and La Clique Noël – Part Deux for adults.
This year’s big new attraction, Silent Light, drew thousands of locals and visitors as it got people of all ages dancing in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. This new show was a global first to which Underbelly invited the team behind the Fringe 2018 hit, Silent Adventures, to collaborate.
Winter Windows popped up around town again, this time representing the theme of kindness. With 37 windows spread across Edinburgh - Great Michael Rise in Newhaven, Ratho’s North Street, Royston Wardieburn Community Centre in Pilton and St Patrick Square just off Clerk Street.
Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “Every year, Edinburgh’s Christmas is enjoyed by thousands of citizens and visitors alike but never has the event proved to be as inclusive as it has been this winter.
“Underbelly’s donation of 28,000 free tickets to almost 40 charities at Christmas has allowed as many residents as possible in Edinburgh and the Lothians to take part in our celebrations. This collaboration also provided much-needed support for the Capital’s official charity, the OneCity Trust.
“The amounts raised are incredible and the generous donation of £20,000 towards the Trust will help to fight inequality and exclusion throughout the city. By supporting the OneCity Trust, fans of Edinburgh’s Christmas are giving back to those in our communities who need our support. Thank you.”
Edinburgh’s Christmas sold 771,074 tickets across the rides, attractions and shows, including the discounted sales to Edinburgh residents. Chief Executive at Marketing Edinburgh, John Donnelly, said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas is continuously raising the bar when it comes to our world leading winter celebrations: not just with the introduction of exciting new attractions, but in its ongoing support for the community and charities across the country.
“It’s particularly encouraging that this year’s 20 per cent resident discount has been well utilised, with a 31 per cent increase on uptake. It’s always important to strike the balance between visitors and residents, but it’s clear to see that Edinburgh’s Christmas is here to be enjoyed by all.”
Roddy Smith, Chief Executive at Essential Edinburgh, said: “We were delighted to support Silent Light, and it helped attract tens of thousands to the west end of the city centre, helping drive footfall at a key time of year.
“Edinburgh’s Christmas is a major boost to our winter economy, adding to the city’s international reputation as the festival capital of the world. The numbers show how valuable it is to our hospitality and retail sectors.
“It’s also good to see that so many local people took part in the events and activities.”
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