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Exciting things are coming to toon - our Santa Grotto Bus returns for 2023!

Because every child should have the chance to visit Santa this Christmas.

Hi Sunshine News readers,

Yes, we are already talking about Christmas here at Team Sunshine… okay, okay, we know it’s only just turned October but we’ve been keeping this one a secret for far too long! We are THRILLED to announce that our much-loved Santa Grotto Bus is returning for 2023 – and this year our festivities are set to be even bigger than ever before!

We are teaming up again with our wonderful friends at Stagecoach for the 5th year running, who will not only be facilitating our grotto, but will also be collecting donations for us on their bus routes throughout the whole of December.

We are also working with NE1 for another year as they have provided the perfect location for our grotto. We will be based on Northumberland Street South near TK Maxx, so families that are out shopping in the city centre won’t be able to miss us!

Our grotto will be stationed in toon from Thursday 14th December until Sunday 17th December.

While Santa’s sleigh will be getting prepared and polished for its long route on Christmas Eve, the ever-generous team at Stagecoach have very kindly arranged to bring him to Newcastle City Centre on one of their buses to pay children, adults and families in our region a very special visit!

SANTA BUS RETURNS: Because every child deserves the chance to visit Santa this Christmas

Our grotto is fully accessible with wheelchair access, and our team understand that some children can find the experience overwhelming, and will make adaptions so that they feel as comfortable as possible. We also understand that this year, Christmas is going to be especially tough on so many families, which is why we are so pleased to say that all visits to Santa remain FREE of charge.

We also know how plans can change, and that children’s moods can be unpredictable – one day they may want to go and see Santa, but this could change in an instant, which is why we do not require any booking. Our grotto will be open from 9am – 5pm from the Thursday – Saturday, and 9.30am – 4.30pm on the Sunday, giving families ample time to pay us a visit.

ENTERTAINMENT PLANNED: Exciting plans are being put into place as we speak

As always, our Santa Bus will be decorated to the nines, and we have some fabulous entertainment planned already, with some familiar faces as well as some new ones, too. So come along, meet Santa, add your name to our ‘Nice List’ and take in all the festivities – we can’t wait to see you!

In addition to our city centre grotto, we have some very exciting plans to take the Santa Bus on the road! We will reveal all once plans have been confirmed, but things are looking very exciting this year, and we can’t wait to bring a smile to so many children’s faces this Christmas.

And this is just the start of our Christmas announcements… our calendars are filling up and we have lots planned which will all become clear over the next few weeks – so keep your eyes peeled! For example, you can support us this year for Christmas Jumper Day, which will take place on Friday 15th December.

We’ve already got lots of individuals and organisations signed up, so please join us and let us know by emailing

CHRISTMAS JUMPER DAY: Take part on Friday, December 15

While all visits to Santa will be free of charge, we will be accepting donations which are always greatly appreciated. Even if it’s just some loose change down the side of the sofa, together we can help improve the lives of babies, children and young adults in our region that are living with disabilities, additional needs and terminal illness.

All donations we receive throughout the festive period will go towards funding life-changing equipment to local children with complex needs, as demand becomes greater and lists get longer. It also helps us continue our work to support families through our highly attended Sunshine Families events – these give parents, carers and children the opportunity to take part in activities where accessibility and cost are not barriers, and it often allows us to provide advice and guidance to those who need it.

Thanks for reading – ho ho ho!

Sophie X



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