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CHRISTMAS is going digital for a Merseyside charity – with an online grotto, carol concert and personal video messages from Santa for starters.

The team at Autism Together, which supports over 400 people with autism, has already tasted success with virtual events this year after holding its annual Summer Fair completely via Facebook back in July, raising over £3,000 in the process.

Lisa Masters, Fundraising Manager for Autism Together, said:

“Like the rest of us, Father Christmas is socially distancing this year, but he has agreed to work with Autism Together to deliver personalised messages to our friends and supporters, direct from his grotto.

“There are a range of message options available, including an age-appropriate present and Christmas goody bag. Parents can even book a message from Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve reminding their little ones to go to bed early before the reindeer arrive.

“As always, we’ve made this service as autism-friendly as possible, with options of using Makaton signing in the video, or even choosing to have a message from one of the North Pole elves instead of Santa.”

Bookings for the Virtual Santa’s Grotto, which is sponsored by Wirral business Spark Medical, are now open online, here: www.trybooking.co.uk/VJV

Autism Together are following up the grotto with a Virtual Christmas Concert on Thursday, December 10.

The evening event will be free to watch and will encompass a live feed from the charity’s head office, interspersed with seasonal music and entertainment recorded in advance by local performers and some of the people Autism Together supports.

Lisa continued: “Along with the mixture of live and recorded entertainment, we will also be drawing our big Sunshine Holiday Raffle live on the night.

“And as our Christmas Concert attendees usually get to enjoy a warm drink and a sweet treat on the night, this year we’ll be sending out hot chocolate and biscuits to all guests who make a donation to our charity when they register to join us for the concert.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone and we look forward to celebrating the Christmas season with you all and looking forward to a brighter future together. Funds raised this Christmas will be used to help build an all-weather sensory garden and cycle track at our site in Raby.

“If anyone would like to make a donation to our December appeal, we will be actively fundraising for the sensory garden project via The Big Give’s Christmas Challenge 2020, so it would be wonderful if you could support us then (December 1-8).”

Register for free to join Autism Together’s Virtual Concert by visiting the charity’s website: www.autismtogether.co.uk/christmas2020.

Autism Together has operations across Wirral, West Cheshire and North Wales, supporting people of all ages on the autism spectrum, with around 1,000 staff providing residential, supported living and day services to over 400 individuals.

Autism Together, 0151 482 3136