It’s been a tough year for every one – not least those involved in non-essential retail. But it’s more important than ever to put a smile on people’s faces at Christmas, says Paul McCarthy, the centre manager of Chantry Place shopping centre in Norwich
Two lockdowns, getting COVID-safe and a rebranding – it’s been quite a year in non-essential retail for Paul McCarthy, the centre manager of Chantry Place in Norwich. And in case you’re not up to speed, that’s the new name for Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich.
However, Paul and his team are ending the year on a positive note by donating £1,000 to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) Charity’s Send a Smile with Santa appeal. The donation allows the hospital to purchase presents for patients, and the centre has also delivered bags of presents for children spending Christmas Day in hospital.
The NNUH aims to give a present to every in-patient, young and old, spending Christmas Day at the hospital, as well as provide a Christmas meal for staff working on December 25.
Paul says: ‘We really want to make Christmas special at the NNUH and it seems more important than ever to put a smile on people’s faces at Christmas this year. It might be the first year some people won’t be able to spend Christmas at home with their family and this year we’ve all learned how important it is to be together. Of course, our NHS heroes will also be looking after the patients on Christmas Day, and the money also goes to making sure staff working on Christmas Day have a wonderful festive meal.’
Presents donated by Chantry Place include Jellycat soft toys for NICU babies and young children’s toys, including xylophones, games and puzzles.
Louise Cook, Head of Fundraising at NNUH, said: ‘We very much appreciate the support given to our appeal this year by Chantry Place, everything is a bit a different this year due to Covid 19 and we appreciate everyone that has supported us.’
The donation come at the end of a year of an understandably tough year for the shopping centre. Paul says: ‘As well as two lockdowns and all the work involved in getting COVID safety measures in place, this year we also rebranded from intu Chapelfield to Chantry Place – another important chapter in our story,’ says Paul.
On the bright side, he adds: ‘The new branding looks amazing and has been really well received. We also welcomed new names like Escape Hunt and Deichmann to the centre; our Christmas ‘tunnel of stars’ on Chantry Square is really making people smile and is adding some magic to the centre.
‘It has been a tough 2020 for everybody and not the kind of year anyone would have wanted, but we’re really looking forward to a much better 2021 and working with our local partners and on community projects, which is a real priority for us next year.
‘On behalf of all the team at Chantry Place, we would like to wish all the readers of Folk Features a very Merry Christmas – here’s to 2021!
For more information on Chantry Place visit www.ChantryPlace.co.uk or follow chantryplacenorwich on social media.