Full steam ahead for Charity Christmas Card sales in Eden!
It was full steam ahead for Christmas this week at South Tynedale Railway in Alston, as a special Santa stream train delivered charity Christmas cards and gifts to Tourist Information Centre staff in Eden District. The Christmas cards and gifts are on sale at local visitors centres to raise money for Cards for Good Causes (CFGC) supported charities.
Meeting Santa and his helpers at South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society’s (STRPS) base in Alston were CFGC Chief Executive Jeremy Lune, CFGC Area Organiser Shelley Mills and Charlie Thornton, Eden District Council’s Tourism Development Officer. Father Christmas had loaded a STRPS heritage train full of cards and gifts at Lintley Halt and had enjoyed a beautiful journey through the South Tynedale countryside before arriving at the end of the line in Alston.
On arrival, Father Christmas assisted by some Christmas helpers handed over a range of high quality Christmas cards and gifts to Elizabeth McDonald , Team Leader at Alston Local Links to sell in the town during the run up to Christmas. CFGC’s cards and gifts will also be on sale around the District at a number of the area’s Tourist Information Centres (TICs) including Penrith and Appleby, together with the Upper Eden Visitor Centre in Kirkby Stephen.
The cards are sold on behalf of a wide range of well know national charities. For every £1 spent 70p goes direct to the charity. Over the years, charities around the UK have benefited substantially from the sales of Christmas cards and gifts sold from pop up shops around the country.
TICs have been used for many years as they are seen as important community hubs. During his visit to Eden, Jeremy Lune of CFGC was shown round Penrith TIC and introduced to the staff, who welcome and encourage many thousands of visitors, including a growing number of overseas visitors, to discover more about the region every year.
Jeremy Lune, Chief Executive of Cards for Good Causes, said: “Buying your Christmas cards through Cards for Good Causes is the best way to get access to the widest selection of cards out there, while supporting the charity of your choice.
“The proceeds from every card or product sold make a vital contribution to all of the charities that we partner. We are so pleased to be back in the Eden Valley and North Pennines for our 16 year in the area. During this time we have been incredibly well supported by local people and visitors, raising over £50,000 for dozens of charities, and look forward to receiving even more generous support this year.”
The launch of Charity Christmas Cards at Alston railway station is fitting as the country’s railways have and continue to play a role in transporting cards and gifts to people. Following the closure of the South Tynedale Railway in 1976 a preservation society was formed and over the years has brought the railway back to life into what is now a major tourist attraction within Eden and the North Pennines. The society has almost completed a three year £5.6 million development project to extend the current railway to Slaggyford along with carrying out extensive renovation and development of Alston railway station and it’s amenities along the line.
Heather Palmer, General Manager of South Tynedale Railway said: “We are delighted to have been asked to get involved with the launch of the Cards for Good Causes shops in the Eden Valley and North Pennines. As a charity ourselves we know how important every penny is, the revenue raised from these fantastic cards makes a vital contribution to the work of the charities involved.”
CFGC’s Christmas cards and gifts are on sale at TICs in Appleby and Penrith together with Alston’s Local Links and Kirkby Stephen’s Upper Eden Visitor Centre. TICs provide a wide range of information and services to visitors and the local community. At Penrith’s TIC, located in Middlegate, visitors can not only book theatre tickets for Penrith Players and Theatre by the Lake at Keswick but they can also purchase theatre tokens that can be redeemed at venues nationwide. Alongside this, the TIC acts as an important box office for many other events which take place throughout the year from open air theatre and music productions to the annual Wannasee Music Festival.
Most TICs are open six days a week between now and Christmas. Detailed opening hours can be found on the Visit Eden website www.visiteden.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
History of Cards for Good Causes
In 1959, James “Jim” Jackson, Secretary of the British Diabetic Association, gathered a group of medical charities together to discuss the coordination of publicity for selling charity cards at Christmas. In 1964, they began selling cards from empty shops in town centres. The name “Cards for Good Causes” was first mooted in 1971, but it was not until 1988 that it was formally established as the trading arm of The 1959 Group of Charities.
Cards for Good Causes Today
- They are the UK’s largest multi-charity Christmas card organization with the most shops in the country.
- Its aims are simple – offer the widest choice of charity cards and keep raising as much money as possible each year for our charities.
- Cards for Good Causes sells cards on behalf of more than 300 national and local charities. In most shops at least 25 charities are represented.
- Cards for Good Causes manage a national network of around 300 charity Christmas card shops, throughout the country, from Truro to Pitlochry.
- Cards for Good Causes sells charity Christmas cards from temporary shops set up in sites such as churches, libraries, community centres, tourist information centres and museums.
- Most Cards for Good Causes shops are staffed by volunteers from the participating charities.
- Cards for Good Causes (CFGC) pays the participating charities (or their trading subsidiaries) at least 70p in every pound from their card sales, less the VAT payable on the amount retained by CFGC. The retained amount covers CFGC’s costs of running the temporary charity Christmas card shops. In addition to these costs, the participants have to pay for the production and distribution of their cards.
- In most shops Cards for Good Causes also sells a range of Christmas Goods, purchased by them, including advent calendars, Christmas wrapping paper and gift tags and the profit from these goods helps meet some of the costs of running the temporary charity Christmas card shops.
Background to South Tynedale Railway
The South Tynedale Railway (STR) is the North of England’s highest narrow gauge railway, winding northwards from its home at Alston in Cumbria into Northumberland.
Built on the track bed of the former Newcastle and Carlisle standard gauge Haltwhistle to Alston line, the STR is 610mm (2 foot) gauge. The South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society opened its first short stretch of track in 1983 and has extended it over the years. The charitable society’s goal is to reinstate a railway all the way from Alston in Cumbria to meet the national railway network at Haltwhistle in Northumberland. Trains run from early spring until November each year and Santa Specials operate at weekends leading up to Christmas.
Tourism in Eden: During 2015, Eden attracted 4.64 million tourism visits (visitor numbers up 3.6% on 2014), with a massive £300 million being generated within the local economy through visitor and tourism business expenditure. An economic impact of + 8.6% between 2014 and 2015. During 2015, tourism accounted for more than 4,200 full-time equivalent jobs in Eden. (Source: STEAM).