Northern Lights launches fundraiser for children’s play area at Leazes Park
On International Day of Charity, Northern Lights announces its pledge to support Urban Green Newcastle and extra charitable initiatives to support Newcastle Hospitals Charity and Children’s Heart Unit Fund.
Northern Lights, the Christmas light trail that debuts at Leazes Park this winter has announced a charitable partnership with Urban Green Newcastle to raise funds to improve the facilities at the play park in Leazes Park.
Urban Green Newcastle is an independent charity responsible for breathing life into the city’s parks and allotments in ways that benefit all communities across the city, including Leazes Park. 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of the park, so Northern Lights has pledged to donate up to £10k and fundraise to help reach the charity’s short-term target of £20k for essential play equipment repairs.
Much of the play equipment in Leazes Park, including a slide and climbing frame, has been out of use after being deemed unsafe for children. As much as the charity would love to repair and remove the damaged play equipment, it is costly. Removing, responsibly disposing of, and replacing a piece of large, damaged climbing equipment costs upwards of £40,000.
The funds raised through Northern Lights will go towards repairs of the play equipment so children and families who visit the park can enjoy free access to a fun and safe place to play.
To pledge their support, Northern Lights have committed to:
· A kick-off donation of £1k.
· Enabling customers to add a donation to Urban Green when purchasing tickets for the light trail through the Northern Lights website.
· Matching every pound donated by the public through its ticket platform up to 10K.
· As part of Northern Lights’ fundraising activations, the light trail will host a ‘play park fundraiser’ on 23rd December—the official date of Leazes Park’s 150th anniversary. During this day, a community choir will perform carols under a sea of stars and immersive lights from the trail.
Carol Pyrah, Chief Executive of Urban Green Newcastle, said: “We know from feedback that families and visitors really care about play areas, and I’m delighted to say we’re working in partnership with Northern Lights Newcastle to launch a fundraising campaign to revitalise the play area; providing children and young people with a safe and enjoyable place to play.
“What better way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of Leazes Park than gifting this historic city centre green space with an improved play area, in keeping with the original spirit of Newcastle’s ‘People’s Park’. We’re asking members of the public to join us in raising money to give Leazes Park a play area we can all be proud of.”
Northern Lights has a culture of giving back to local causes and actively supporting local communities, which lies at the heart of the family-owned business behind Kendal Calling, Bluedot and Christmas at Bute Park.
Northern Lights Event Director Roxy Robinson said: “We are thrilled to launch this fundraiser to repair play equipment at Leazes Park. We are committed to doing our bit to help improve facilities at the park in collaboration with park owners. Free-to-access play areas are so important for local families. We are delighted to do our bit by ensuring that funds raised via the Northern Lights event will contribute to getting the play park fully operational so that it may be enjoyed throughout the year.”
Further Initiatives with Local Charities
Northern Lights has also pledged to supportthe children’s ward at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) through the Newcastle Hospitals Charity— which aims to help Newcastle hospitals go further by providing support for compassionate and innovative healthcare, education, and research.
As a neighbour of the light trail, the partnership with Northern Lights will see 80 pieces of artwork designed by children in the ward projected onto the paths of the trail, which the patients will name.
The light installation will see a series of beautiful rotating gobo projections of the children’s art, bathed in colour to depict animated stories from the children in the most enchanting way.
Each piece of art created by the children will shine down onto the pathway walked by those experiencing the trail. For patients unable to attend, there are plans to create a digital version of Northern Lights so they can share the magical moment.
There will also be donation points to fundraise for Newcastle Hospitals Charity throughout the trail.
Katie Hickman, Arts Programme Manager at Newcastle Hospitals Charity said: “We are delighted to partner with Northern Lights on this very exciting project. As well as raising funds to help our youngest patients and their families at the Great North Children’s Hospital, this is also a fantastic project for the children to be involved in.
We are really looking forward to seeing the designs in place and lighting up our wonderful park and the digital version being used on the wards for those patients who can’t attend. The creative elements of this project and the interactivity of the light trail, both in the park and digitally, will really help to make the hospital experience the best it can possibly be for the children visiting the hospital. And the funds raised will help to support life-changing research, cutting-edge equipment and technology – and make the hospital more welcoming for children of all ages.”
Children’s Heart Unit Fund (Chuf)
Northern Lights will also be supporting the charity Chuf, founded 40 years ago in 1983, Chuf supports children and families who receive treatment at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital.
The initiative will see Northern Lights providing donation points along the trail and donating two Northern Lights family tickets for auction at the 40th Anniversary Ball.
Alicia Clovis-Mothalib, Corporate & Trusts Fundraising Manager at Chuf said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the new Northern Lights experience will not only bring some very magical moments to families visiting the immersive event in Newcastle, but that they’ll be spreading the joy by supporting Chuf’s Heart families who are stuck in hospital at this time.
Not being able to participate in fun family activities is tough, especially at this time of year. Money raised during the trail will help Chuf to brighten up some of the darker days at the Children’s Heart Unit and can help us to arrange special things like seasonal and birthday treats, new toys for the playroom and craft materials to keep little hands busy. We are so grateful for this support!”
Northern Lights Event Information
Northern Lights is a brand new immersive light trail coming to Newcastle city centre this Christmas. The breathtaking festival of light in the heart of Newcastle’s oldest park, will enthral visitors with a stunning after-dark attraction of immersive visuals, audio and jaw-dropping illuminations in what will become the only light trail in the city.
Opening on 23rd November 2023 and running for five weeks until 1st January, incredible illuminations will be set among woodland glades, heritage architecture, statues and the lake. Welcoming people of all ages, visitors to Northern Lights will experience between 10-12 light attractions, discovered across a mile loop around illuminated parkland, starting and ending at the southern park entrance (via Barrack Road). During the 90-minute event, visitors can also enjoy vintage fairground rides and a variety of festive treats, including mulled wine, hot chocolate, and toasted marshmallows.
The dynamic choreography and intelligent design comes from the company behind multi-award-winning Bluedot, Kendal Calling and Christmas at Bute Park, and for Newcastle, the light trail is going to be produced by a combination of local and national talent, including creators of headline installations for Kew Gardens, Netflix, and Glastonbury.
Ensuring everyone can enjoy the magic of the moment and participate in the festivities, the whole trail is inclusive and accessible via a flat trail along wheelchair-accessible paths, seating areas and ramp access points. Special provisions will also be in place to reserve Access time slots, where quieter audio and reduced visitor numbers aim to support neuro-divergent visitors. Queue jump wristbands will also be available for those with additional needs.
Northern Lights pledges to power the attraction using generators fuelled by refined vegetable oil (HVO diesel) and low-power consumption LED units for most lighting fixtures.
· Northern Lights will be the only immersive light trail in Newcastle upon Tyne
· 90-minute magical world of illuminations.
· One-mile accessible route.
· 10 – 12 installations using a combination of local and national talent.
· Illuminations will light up woodland glades, heritage architecture, statues and the lake.
· The attraction includes a Christmas Village provided by food and drink artisans.
· Aims to attract around 130,000 visitors to the city centre.
· 23rd November 2023 to 1st January 2024
· 4:30pm – 7:30pm (23rd November until 30th November)
· 4:15pm – 7:30pm (1stDecember to 1stJanuary 2024)
Address: Leazes Park, Newcastle
· £19 (adults)
· £13.50 (age 3 – 16yrs)
· Free (children under 2yrs)