2018 Christmas Collections

24th December 2018

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The Rotary Christmas Collections were a great success and The Club would like to thank the people of Seaford for their generosity in donating just over £10,600, an increase on last year’s record sum by nearly £260.

The 2018 Rotary Christmas Collections commenced with a static collection in Broad Street on Saturday 1st December. The weather that Saturday was however atrocious (it largely decimated the Seaford Magic event) and was a forewarning of some very wet evenings to come. The street collections commenced on Monday 3rd December for 17 evenings including for 2018 two Saturday evenings until 21st December. In particular, the weather for Saturday 15th was horrendous but Santa and his elves still went out and got thoroughly soaked. It was so bad that when the count of the collection was carried out two days later all the money (coins and notes) had to be dried before it could be counted. This also applied to collections on other wet evenings although not to the same degree. Those evenings that were dry were however generally very windy.
As the town of Seaford has grown over recent years, there are more homes to visit in the 17 evenings, but as we only collect in December there is no extra time to visit the additional properties. Practically each evening collection is not able to be started before 17.15 and needs to finish ideally by 20.00 but definitely no later than 20.30 when children will have gone to bed, and the older people are drinking their hot chocolate!
A further consideration to factor into the time taken for each round, is with the advent of smart phones, the time taken by parents who understandably like to take photographs of their children with Father Christmas. This can cause significant cumulative delays if the children are not coated and shod when the sleigh arrives.
There is much work that goes on behind the scenes in organising the Christmas Collections. This starts each New Year with a review meeting to ascertain out what was good or bad during the December Collections. We will determine an action plan to address any problems and to iron out any complaints from the public received directly or perhaps by social media, so that the experience for young Seaford residents may be improved next December.
On our “Board” listing all the Christmas Collections by route, there are 265 slots for people to volunteer their services during December. These include Contact Rotarian (leader for each route), Father Christmas, Sleigh Drivers, Support Drivers and of course the Collectors. The programme of routes for the evenings change each year so that generally, the date when Santa will visit homes on each route changes each December so that no one route is always first.
The sleigh needs annual maintenance and preparation before December, and all systems on the sleigh need testing and checking to ensure that all is well. Licences have to be arranged for the evening street collections, and also for the static collections in Broad Street. Parking permits are also needed for the static collections.
A further, but a most important item, is the sourcing of 40kg of soft centred and wrapped sweets for Father Christmas to hand out. This is not as simple as it sounds since there are a very small number of suppliers in Europe, let alone in the UK, prepared to provide such a quantity.
The “Board” is prepared in August ready for names of the principals to be recorded in September, and the collectors are sought from October onwards through to the end of the event on Christmas Eve.
In December 2018, 76% of all the slots were filled by Rotarians from The Rotary Club of Seaford. Their average age is 74 although some are over 80, and the remainder was filled by family and Rotary friends to whom we are most grateful particularly this December for braving the inclement weather.
The collections in 2018 was the 70th time, since the Club was formed in 1947, that Seaford Rotary Club has brought tidings of goodwill to the people of Seaford. Each year we try to improve wherever possible to bring the joy of the occasion to all with the music and carols.
Once again, The Rotary Club of Seaford would like to express our sincere thanks all who have given so generously this December.