The Rotary Club of Derby has adapted its annual Santa Sleigh to spread joy and excitement to even more children this year and raise much-needed funds for two charities who support some of the most vulnerable local young people. In normal times, the Club Santa Sleigh would visit families in Derby suburbs in return for donations. Due to the pandemic, such close contact may not be possible even in December, but organisers are determined not to disappoint children who traditionally enjoy seeing and meeting Santa in the approach
to Christmas.

Thanks to the expertise of Derby digital agency Think3, families across the county and beyond can visit to book a personalised letter from Santa sent by email or post or a personalised recorded video from Santa. Families will be asked to donate money for the Santa experiences with all money raised being split between two established local charities.

Safe and Sound supports young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has, for the past 125 years, organised seaside holidays for disadvantaged children across the county. Post-lockdown and subject to future restrictions, the Rotary Club of Derby hope to take out Santa and his sleigh to offer drive-by cheer to families who can watch from their windows and doorsteps with tours which will be videoed and online.

Les Bryan, President of the Rotary Club of Derby explained: “Our Santa Sleigh is a long-held tradition in the city – visiting suburbs such as Littleover, Mickleover and Chellaston. We are very grateful to our members, Think3 and to Safe and Sound and DCHC who have pooled their positivity and creativity to re-imagine the Santa Sleigh for these unprecedented times. Our hope is that even more children will enjoy a Santa experience this year and still have our fingers crossed that we can take the sleigh out again post-lockdown – albeit in a drive-by and therefore totally socially distanced way”. “As well as bringing much needed festive cheer to families, we have raised thousands of pounds for local charities over the years. Our aim this year is to generate even more much-needed funds for Safe and Sound and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre this year who both support some of the most vulnerable children in our local communities.”

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison continued: “We have seen a dramatic rise in the recent months in the number of children and young people targeted and groomed by criminals – particularly online. “We are therefore extremely grateful that The Rotary Club of Derby has chosen to support us again this Christmas. Funds raised will enable us to help and protect many more young people, provide a support lifeline to their families and continue to raise awareness of the dangers facing young people in our local communities.

Bill Tomlinson, a Trustee of Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre, concluded: “The Rotary Club of Derby’s Santa Sleigh is a much-anticipated event every year and I hope that families will
embrace this new initiative. “It will not only add to children’s excitement in the run-up to Christmas but also raise funds to support many disadvantaged children who benefit greatly from a week of fun, education and relaxation at the holiday home in Skegness. “Christmas will be very different for many families this year and I doubt that children will be able to enjoy any kind of Santa’s Grotto experience this year. Both DCHC and Safe and Sound will therefore ensure that our young people and their siblings can also experience the magic of Christmas albeit in this very different way.”

For more information and to make a donation or to book a letter or call from Santa, please visit

About Safe and Sound Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.
The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers. This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled them to reach their full potential. The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which is often interlinked. These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern-day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.
Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experienced board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.

Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. The charity’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences. For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit

Contact: Tracy Harrison 07534 011026
About Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre: For over 125 years, Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has provided children across the county with a week-long holiday at
our specialist residential centre on the seafront in Skegness. Every penny donated goes directly towards helping the most disadvantaged children in our society.
We provide disadvantaged youngsters with a break they might never receive, helping with their education and self-esteem; making friends and memories that last a lifetime. We rely solely on financial donations from the public and on those who give up their time to help.

Contact: David Harris 07941 829069
About Rotary Club of Derby: The Rotary Club of Derby meets regularly and welcomes new members from all walks of life who want to make new friends while getting involved in charitable work in the community. Rotary International connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit Contact: Tim Wherly, Mobile: 07957 882322. Email: [email protected]