Wickford's Christmas crowdfund gets underway

Every year we need £15,000 just to put up Wickford's Christmas lights display, store the lights and run the popular Wickford at Christmas Street Fair. We rely on donations from the public, charitable grants and sponsorship from local businesses to raise these funds. A team of 12 local volunteers work year-round to put this all together.

Last year we raised £4,000 in our collection buckets which will go towards this year's activities, but we still need just over half of the money.

We need funds asap. To purchase any new lights we'd need the funds by the end of August. 

The Wickford at Christmas Street Fair is Sunday 24th November - RSVP on the Facebook event here. This has become a great annual event for our town and it’s a fun-packed day with lots of gift, food and drink stalls, Santa, local entertainment and more. We will need funds to cover all the health and safety and legal procedures that have to be in place as well as pay for the lights display to go up in time for the event.

We'd love to spend more on new lights. In 2018 we bought 10 new lights for the high street but we would love to have some more new lights each year to add to the display, each is around £1,000. But we also need to fund the maintenance of some posts, for instance there are 36 lampposts in the High Street that we need to renew and replace lights and lightboxes for, which work out at approx £800-900 each. 

There are various ways to donate and help

  1. Donate on our GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/wickford-at-christmas-2019

  2. Collection boxes in these high street shops - 2Dam Glam Boutique, Arches Barbers, Chris DIY Store, Emblem, Glicks Opticians, Headlines Hairdressing Essex, Maplefords, Mem's Kitchen, Mi Chica Boutique, Michael Frank Jewellers and Wickford Garage

  3. Businesses can advertise at the Street Fair from reasonable rates and packages include social media and online advertising too. Find out more by emailing info@wickfordatchristmas.co.uk or contacting us on Facebook

  4. We’re also looking for volunteers to help on the day, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. Email info@wickfordatchristmas.co.uk.

6 benefits of volunteering: Volunteers Week

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It’s Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) which celebrates all of the good work people make up and down the country to support causes and charities.  

Wickford is full of wonderful volunteers that help across various events and causes, from the Wickford Wombles and Rotary Club to sports teams, children’s clubs and charity initiatives.

Wickford’s Christmas activities are also run by volunteers. The Christmas high street lights display only gets put up and stored away each year because of a group of 12 individuals who give up their spare time all year to get funding and procedures in place.

They also organise the Wickford at Christmas Street Fair, which requires another group of Wickford residents to help on the day itself. Their tasks include setting up barriers; setting up stall holders in the high street; manning the activities; collecting money in the buckets and more. 

We’re always on the look out for more help.

Need some convincing? Here are some of the benefits of volunteering with us, although many apply to other volunteer roles too

It’s fun! The Christmas Street Fair kicks off the festive spirit in Wickford and it’s great to be a part of the team that pulls it off 

You meet new people. Not only are there other volunteers helping out who you’ll meet but you’ll be interacting with other Wickford residents  

You’re part of a community effort. It feels good to be part of something positive for our town  

Make a difference. Whatever task you do, you are helping put on a fantastic event and experience for the people of Wickford and any money raised helps us on our way to do the same next year  

Learn new skills and gain confidence. It might seem a little daunting but we’ll give you the training and enthusiasm needed to get out there and do the best you can 

It looks good on your CV. Adding a volunteering role makes you stand out and gives you extra experience to talk about 

Interested in volunteering with us?

Click here to join the Wickford at Christmas Volunteers Team Facebook page to find out more or email wickfordatchristmas@gmail.com.  

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Meet the Committee

Wickford volunteers work year-round to ensure our town’s Christmas lights display and street market take place. Tasks range from council paperwork, stall allocation and logistics to keeping track of funds, scheduling entertainment and preparing promotional material such as our programme and social media. Without them Wickford would have no Christmas lights display or event.

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Name: Eunice Brockman

WAC role: Chair

Day job: Company director/consultant

How long have you lived in Wickford? 16 years

What do you love most about Christmas? Food and drink, and seeing my family

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Name: Danielle Hunt

WAC role: Exhibitions manager

Day job: Director of a POS manufacturer

How long have you lived in Wickford? All my life!

What do you love most about Christmas? The Christmas spirit…and mulled wine

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Name: Alan Ball

WAC role: Lights management and event supervisor

Day job: Work for BT

How long have you lived in Wickford? 50 years

What do you love most about Christmas? Getting everyone together

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Name: David Harrison

WAC role: Programme preparation and lights management

Day job: Retired

How long have you lived in Wickford? 48 years

What do you love most about Christmas? Enjoying it!

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Name: Michael Stapleton

WAC role: Business liaison

Day job: Owner of Michael Frank Jewellers

What do you love most about Christmas? Christmas is one of my favourite times of year and my enthusiasm for the festive season is catching! I love Christmas decorating and being with my family.

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Name: Amanda Greenwood

WAC role: Social media and website

Day job: Marketing specialist

How long have you lived in Wickford? All my life

What do you love most about Christmas? Definitely all about food, family and friends! Christmas ham, pigs in blankets, lots of chocolate, Baileys…

Name: Linda Harrison

WAC role: Treasurer

Name: Andy Bartlett

WAC role: Arranging entertainment

Name: Peter Towler

WAC role: Volunteers management

Name: Michael Hill

WAC role: Business liaison

Name: Dawn Hutson

WAC role: Secretary

Name: Rosie Beecher

WAC role: Rotary Club liaison

Name: Michael Mowe


Want to do your bit and join our committee?

You might be a great salesperson who could help generate sponsorship from local businesses or you might be an enthusiastic fundraiser. Let us know what you could bring to the team!

We meet monthly on a weeknight and more often closer to the build-up to the street fair.

Get in touch! Email info@wickfordatchristmas.co.uk.

Your favourite Christmas window display 2018

The votes are in!

Every year Wickford at Christmas encourages businesses in the high street to put a festive window display together.

We asked you, the Wickford residents, to vote for your favourite in our annual poll. Thank you to everyone that voted - here are the winners!

Bronze Award: Headlines

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Silver Award: Mem’s Kitchen

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Gold Award and Winner: Michael Franks Jewellers

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MAP: Wickford houses with great Christmas lights displays

We’ve scoured local Facebook groups and created the map below of houses in Wickford that have fantastic Christmas lights displays!

We don’t know the exact house numbers so have given a rough idea of where you should head to.

Click on the stars to find out the road names.

Financial update on Wickford’s Christmas lights

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Money for Wickford’s Christmas lights display and street fair comes from grants, business sponsorship, stall holders, charitable donations and public donations. Without this support the town would have NO lights and NO Christmas event.

Wickford at Christmas is a group of volunteers who give up a large amount of our own time throughout the year to ensure the lights are stored, get put up and to organise the Christmas street fair. We do this because we care about Wickford having a Christmas lights display and a street fair that brings together the community and brings a boost to our high street in the festive period.

We work with Essex County Council, Basildon Council, local businesses and many contractors to get the right paperwork in place, secure sponsorship and get the most out of our high street to bring you a festive community feel at Christmas. We hugely appreciate all those that have helped us so far including our sponsors, business supporters and all the wonderful volunteers who give up their time.  

We’re asked every year about why things are how they are – so here’s a little bit about finances, our progress and our future plans.

Wickford at Christmas was only formed in 2016

  • It was formed to keep the lights up year on year and hopefully improve them, as well as run the street fair

  • The cost of installing, running and removal of the 2016 lights was kindly covered by the now disbanded ‘Light Up Wickford’

  • That year Wickford at Christmas brought in £8,346.83 through donations, sponsorship, programme adverts, raffle tickets, etc and on the day we took £2,376.05

  • The cost of the 2016 event was £4,691.69 which left us at the end of our first year with £3,655.14

The event grew in 2017 helped by having money in the bank

  • Through sponsorship, donations, stall and advert costs we brought in another £11,266.35

  • It cost £7,883.91 to put on the 2017 event and the cost of installing, running and the removal of the lights in Wickford was £4,048, minus a £1,000 donation from Basildon Council towards the costs

New lights in 2018

With money raised from last year’s event we have bought 10 new light columns at a cost of £3,074 which are in the middle of the high street. 

All the other lights are those we have inherited and hope to improve over the next few years.

Some lights have not been put up this year after they failed health and safety checks.

2019 and beyond

At this year’s fair we raised £3,828 through the buckets and pots! We also raised money from the rides, chestnuts, collection boxes in shops and a Co-op grant as well as sponsorship and programme adverts.

It will cost approximately £15,500 to put up and store the lights and to run the event in 2019. To continue improving the lights we’d need to cover those initial costs then additional lights costs would be

How cross lights would look

How cross lights would look

  • New lamp-post festoons - £300+ per new fitting

  • Cross street display - £1,000+ and permission of all the high street landlords which can be challenging

  • Wall fitted displays - £108 one-off cost then £190-260 per display depending if it’s a Christmas tree, candles, snowmen etc, plus £130 to fit, remove and store each of these

You can quickly see the costs going up when you break it down!  

As we're a community-led initiative, and with these kinds of numbers, you can see why improving them is going to take some time.

It’s time to act! This is only possible with Wickford working together

There are thousands of adults in Wickford, if each one of them gave a £1, think what could be achieved!

Donate: online here, in several high street shops (see our Facebook page for the list) or on the day 

Business sponsor: If you’re interested in sponsoring or being involved next year, please email info@wickfordatchristmas.co.uk.

Programme adverts: Email wickfordatchristmas.adds@gmail.com if you would like to be in the programme next year.

Volunteer: Join this Facebook group if you want to help out on Sunday 24th November 2019 or at other times in the year.

Join the committee: Do your bit year-round. Email info@wickfordatchristmas.co.uk to find out more.

How our high street could look

How our high street could look

Our statement on reindeer at the street fair

Wickford at Christmas has decided to cancel the reindeer appearance at the Street Fair on 25th November. This has been a difficult decision for the committee to make as we know people love to see the reindeer and they are a big draw to visiting the market.

However, there have been many stories in the press recently about the treatment of reindeer in centres and as this is currently a delicate matter we had to carefully consider the welfare of the animals and safety of all those attending the event.

We hope you understand and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday where we will still have a fantastic event with Santa’s Grotto, 50+ gift, food and drink stalls, entertainment in the high street and Willows Centre, children's rides, crafts and more.