TWO DAYS TO GO… 1000 Free tickets to a special Santa’s Grotto at Central Square – Thursday 24 November

Words by Ed King / Pics and images supplied by Ceol Agency & The Recovery Foundation

As Erdington prepares to kickstart the festive season with the official Christmas lights ‘switch on’ event on Thursday 24 November, further up the High Street someone in a big red suit is also coming to town…

Come and meet Santa for free on Thursday 24 November, at a special winter wonderland and Santa’s Grotto in the Secret Art Studio Space (SASS) – downstairs at Central Square Shopping Centre on Erdington High Street, running from 4pm until 6/7pm.

Organised by The Recovery Foundation and supported by the Erdington Business Improvement District (EBID), the totally free Santa’s Grotto is open to children 16 years old and under.

Up to 1000 children can get free tickets for the Santa’s Grotto.

To secure your place on the day, simply head to the Christmas lights ‘switch on’ event outside the Co-op supermarket, running between 4pm and 7pm, where you can a pick up a free ticket – one per child, allocated on a first come first served basis.

As well as getting to meet Santa and explore the magical winter wonderland, designed by The Recovery Foundation’s Creative Art Director Angela Chapman, every child will be given a free selection box as a special treat – again, free of charge.

Angela Chapman told Erdington Local: “On entering SASS there will be paper snowflakes overhead, decorative candy canes, and a wintery forest with fairy houses and lots of other Christmassy characters dotted around as you walk to Santa’s Grotto.

“I get to put my theatre design and set making skills to good use. Local people have contributed materials or their time to help put it together and it has been a real community effort.

“We wanted to make the grotto as magical as possible for the children of Erdington, as it is going to be financially difficult for some families this Christmas.”

The Recovery Foundation are a local mental health charity and community outreach organisation who have been running art workshops from SASS throughout the summer.

With the cost of living crisis putting extra pressures on families this winter, The Recovery Foundation wanted to give children in Erdington a special day out – and a visit to Santa’s Grotto – without adding extra financial burdens to their families.

The Recovery Foundation founder, Emma Sitole, added: “Christmas and the winter holiday season can be a wonderful time of the year, but it can also bring extra pressure on families – especially those with young children.

“Our Santa’s Grotto is completely free to attend, with 1000 tickets available, which will give children across Erdington a chance to have some festive fun without costing their family a penny. Angela (Chapman) has done an amazing job and it will be a really exciting day out.

“From everyone at The Recovery Foundation have a wonderful Christmas and festive season.”

The Santa’s Grotto at SASS will be open on Thursday 24 November, organised as part of the High Street festivities around the official Christmas lights ‘switch on’ event – running between 4pm and 7pm.

Tickets for the Santa’s Grotto are available from the Christmas light ‘switch on’ event main stage – limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.

For more on all the Christmas events coming to the High Street, organised by the Erdington Business Improvement District, visit

For more on The Recovery Foundation visit

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