FAQ’s about Operation Santa Dudley borough

How are we funded?

  • My salary is paid by Dudley CVS, the charity I work for and they have run this appeal for over 40 years.
  • Everyone who helps is a VOLUNTEER who gives their time for free
  • We run the appeal from a venue which has been given to us for FREE. In 2019 Black Country Radio offered us space


What are our criteria for support?

  • We take requests from not-for-profits across Dudley borough, which may be a voluntary, community, faith sector group or a statutory service including local social workers, council staff, schools and the NHS


How do we take referrals?

  • Staff/volunteers email us a list of children/young people needing gifts. The only data we collect is age and gender


Why don’t we wrap everything?

We do not wrap anything apart from grotto presents, for a number of reasons.

  • The present must be appropriate for the child and the best person to judge that is the person recommending them for a gift
  • It gives the parent[s] some dignity in that they can wrap the gift for their child themselves


How can I help?

  • Help spread the word about what we do and the impact we have, sharing our wishlists and helping to generate more donations
  • Share our good news stories and successes
  • Help us reach more potential recipients by telling them what we do and how to access our service


Why we are proud to be different

  • We may be small and local but we make Christmas happen
  • EVERY PENNY raised goes to support local children and young people who need it
  • Our gifts and cash donations come from people who are proud to support us because what they give goes directly to children and young people who may otherwise think Santa has forgotten them.




Does your child need a coat for the winter season? Coats for Kids is now in Stourbridge and collecting now! @WeAreBCR

Let me tell you about an amazing community project called Coats for Kids. This is a nationwide project which takes donations of new and used children’s coats to give to others in the community for free, no questions asked.

The project aims to:

    • Ensure that every child enjoys outdoor play with warm clothing
    • Tackle financial hardship
    • Reduce the stigma of asking for help
    • Enhance the community benefit of families supporting each other
    • Promote environmentally friendly practices by reducing waste

Our team are based in Stourbridge, already busy collecting donations. We are looking for ways to reach out to those families who would benefit from this project most.

If you would like to find out more about the project, please visit the Coats for Kids Facebook group:


I have also attached a poster for your reference. I hope you will consider sharing our project with other professionals and organisations and displaying our poster for your staff/volunteers and families to see.

Hopefully we could liaise regarding the need of those in the community and how we can supply coats for those most vulnerable.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Emma Penko
Stourbridge Coordinator
Coats For Kids


Operation Santa Dudley borough 2019 – another epic adventure!

Dudley CVS which is a registered charity, has run its Operation Santa appeal for over 40 years and in 2019 was proud once again to work together to connect, collaborate and build partnerships with individuals, organisations, groups and businesses across Dudley borough, and beyond! It was been another whirlwind of activity with 12994 donations and some amazing support, and goodwill along the way.  It’s truly been another phenomenal effort with more support than ever from kind-hearted individuals, groups, societies, statutory partners and businesses. Unfortunately there was also an 86% increase in requests for support!


Who do we support?

We try to provide a main present for children and young people who would otherwise receive nothing for Christmas.  This year we received 95 requests for support, with a maximum limit per request of 25 children, from schools, social workers, children’s services, children’s centres, other statutory partners, voluntary, community and faith sector groups.  There were also requests for grotto presents or presents for Christmas parties, which we did our best to fulfil.

#Team Santa

Our wonderful team of committed elves were busier than ever. Thanks to Trev, Rose, Jayne, Steve, Sarah and Phil for their time and support. These lovely people are all volunteers who give their time around already busy lives.


Black Country Radio

This year we were blessed to be offered a superb location for our grotto with Black Country Radio at their studio in Brierley Hill and the whole team really went the extra mile to support us.  They produced a special advert which they ran throughout November and December, invited us along to their shows to share our progress and challenges, and even added a special section on their website, with links and a contact form. They secured wonderful press coverage for our launch on 7th November, including the Express & Star reporter, photographer and also Radio WM, helping us raise our profile and even ran a special programme where our launch guests such as the Hope Centre, Top Church Training, Volks Magic and VDubz were interviewed live on air. [Here are Lee Southerton from Volks Magic and Garry Aulton from Beerbuz/VDubz in the Valley with Clive Payne from Black Country Radio at the launch]

Brett Harris and his angels from Blaze Hair

Our committed Business Ambassadors were once again on a mission to generate as many donations as possible and achieved an amazing 2250 donations this year. They reached out to their network of supporters and helpers, including a fabulous donation of hundreds of brand new books from All Saints Church, Claverley.

Santa’s a Gangster and Volks Magic

We were very fortunate to have Lee Southerton and his ‘Santa’s a Gangster’ supporters join us in 2017 and their ongoing support is invaluable to our appeal each year.  This year they raised a phenomenal £12010.66 from their supporters and the VW Beetle Cabriolet Prize Draw.  This meant we were able to keep the grotto topped up with presents for children and young people who may otherwise think that Santa had forgotten them. A number of the supporters attended our appeal launch event in November. [ß Lee Southerton from Volks Magic with the Mayor of Dudley, Cllr David Stanley at our launch event]

Lee’s friend Jim Cousins, who was a keen supporter, passed away in early November and those attending his wake were asked to bring toys and gifts along to his final cruise, with over 300 presents delivered to the grotto directly afterwards .

This year these supporters generated an amazing 3022 donations in addition to their fundraising efforts!

Beerbuz and VDubz in the Valley

Garry and Hayley Aulton who run Beerbuz and organise an annual VW gathering called VDubz in the Valley raised a phenomenal £3500 at the event’s charity auction in September to add to the Santa’s a Gangster appeal.  They attended the launch and were able to share photos of the gifts which were purchased with the money they raised. Garry and Hayley were recognised with a special award at Dudley Volunteer Awards 2019.


Kingswinford Charity Football Club

We were lucky that the wonderful team of Jason, Carl, Mike and Simon were back to support us again this year, with a huge toy shop and funding another Christmas party with entertainment, hot Christmas dinner and a present from Santa at DY1 Venue. There was a magical grotto for Santa to sit in and the children had a wonderful afternoon as always.  The guys were also recognised with special 20 year long service certificates at Dudley Volunteer Awards 2019.


The Court House Carvery

Chris, Paul and Paula generously offered 100 free Christmas carveries for local kids again this year, despite the fact that the pub had been sold and they had to cease trading on 17th December immediately after our second Christmas carvery party. Paul again played Santa and gave every child a present. Their generosity was also recognised with a special award at our Dudley Volunteer Awards in 2019.

Prospect Coaches and Merry Hill Private Hire

We were fortunate to secure free coaches again to transport the children to the Court House for their lunch this year and Adam Davies from Merry Hill Private Hire said why he was delighted to support Operation Santa.


The Mayor of Dudley, Dudley MBC staff and councillors

We were once again fortunate that the Mayor, Dudley MBC staff and councillors again supported our appeal.  Special thanks to the Mayor, Cllr David Stanley and Maren Lilley, who organises the appeal across DMBC and the lovely staff, and councillors who helped this year.

[Maren Lilley in the Council House foyer with some of the donations]


Black Country Wenches

Michelle and Karen were kind enough to support us this year. They visited the grotto and made a special video which was very popular, with over 6000 views. You can watch the video on their Facebook page here: https://tinyurl.com/wh3sz66

Through their connections we were also able to channel some party presents to local foster children and a box of tennis balls was sent to the Greyhound Trust.


Daz Rudge and Craig Knowles [Virgin Media]

Daz and Craig who work for a well-known local media provider cycled an incredible 30K a day throughout November at a local leisure centre and raised a fabulous £675 in sponsorship, which they spent on toys for the appeal. Here they are unloading their van of goodies.

Glynne After School Club

The children from this club have been supporting us for several years and each child chooses a toy to donate that they would like themselves to give to another child who may get nothing for Christmas.  They visit us in the grotto each year and we always take a photo as a souvenir of their visit. [Here are Dean, Alexa, Ellie and Carley when they dropped off their gifts]


Brierley Hill Market

Special thanks to Santa for flying back from the North Pole especially to donate the money he raised at Christmas, in his grotto in Brierley Hill Market. Here he is presenting Eileen from Operation Santa with £350 to kick start Operation Santa 2020. Grateful thanks to Jason Keen, Malcolm Bridgwater and Steven Bridgwater for their efforts. So lovely that a local market and its traders want to make sure local kids don’t think Santa has forgotten them.

Geoff Hill Charitable Trust

Geoff Hill was a long-term supporter of our Operation Santa appeal and Sue Hill, his wife has generously continued his legacy again this year, for which we are very appreciative.


Feedback from those we have supported

Supporters List

We had so many lovely people who have supported us this year and here is a full list is available here: https://wp.me/P1ZP0K-x

Every picture tells a story

Photos from this year’s Operation Santa are available here:



Why not follow us to see what we are up to and help us spread the word





Ending on a high with 12746 donations @WeAreBCR

So as Operation Santa closes for 2019 let’s celebrate another amazing year with a huge number of donations = happy faces for local children and young people on Christmas morning.  Here’s to all you lovelies who’ve supported –

  • the amazing elves – Trev, Rose, Andy, Jayne, Steve, Sarah, Phil and the people who popped in for coffee and got conscripted – Sarah Louise, Donna and Abs
  • our phenomenal supporters who’ve been epic as always  – Brett and the Blaze Angels our business ambassadors – Lee and the awesome Santa’s a Gangster team, who dug deep and smashed it
  • the kind hearted people who’ve bought presents, food, clothing etc to make Christmas happier for less fortunate kids and their families
  • the volunteers from Black Country Radio who’ve been our hosts and partners this year … with your offer of the best grotto space we’ve EVER had, which made logistics much easier and kept  Elfie morale high

Warm Christmas wishes to you all and here’s to 2020 and VANDAID

Our lovely supporters

So many wonderful people have supported us this year and here’s the current list 🙂


Ajaib Paul – DMBC
Alex Sutton
All Saints Claverley
Amanda Field
Amblecote Methodist Church
Ami Flanaghan
Amy Shaw –  DMBC
Andy Elbro
Anita Metelko DMBC
Bethan Tolley
Beverley Smith
BH Performsnce
Bill Perry & Judie Perry
Blaze Hair
Boo Lewis
Brett and supporters
Brierley Hill Health & Social Care Centre
Carol & Ruth – Top Gear
Caroline Harvey – Higgs & Sons
Cassie Hawthorne
Catherine Wilday
Cathy Nickless
Chloe Ryan
Christine Spruce
Claire Badham
Claverley Village Fundraiser
Cllr Tina Westwood DMBC
Cllr. Dave Tyler
Cllr. Elaine Taylor
Cllr. Jake Cooper
Darren and Kelly
David Rogers
Dawn Pritchard Katie-Ann & Emmy
Daz and Craig from Virgin Media
Deb Brook & john Lowe – Youth on stage
Denise & Rennie Bishop
DMBC Environmental Management Lister Road
DMBC Saltwells Staff Team
DMBC Staff & Councillors
DMBC staff and councillors
DMBC Staff in 3-5 St. James Road
DMBC Staff in Harbour Buildings – Housing Directorate
Donna Leeson
Drew and Tracey Wigley
Drew Pritchard
Dudley & District CAB
Duncan Edwards Foundation
Duncan Whitehead
Eileen Ethelstone
Emma Newman – DMBC
Family Matters – Donna & Carly
Gabriella Magin & Steve Edwards
Gary James – Black Country Radio
Gavin Adams and wee Brett
Gemma Dunn
Glynne School
Grayson Forest
H.X. Sefton & Clive Sefton
Haylee Bishop
Helen Smith
Ian Craddock & Pam Craddock
Ian Wheeler
In Sound Choir
InKind Direct
Jack Hale
Jackie Bartlett
Jane Lewis
Jane Miller
Jayne & Clive Worrall
Jayne Worrall
Jenny O’Connell
Jim Cousins
Jim’s cruise
Jo Edwards
Jo White – DMBC
Joanne Carter – DMBC
Jody & Vince Thompson
John from Doulton Garage
Joti Verma
Judith Watkin
Julie Bishop
Julie Payne
Karen McEntegart
Kate Hadley
Katherine, Janet & Sandy
Keith Lionel Peck [KP Crafts]
Ken & Tracy McClymont
Kingswinford Charity Football Club
Kingswinford Christian Centre
Kressida April Bishop & Jack Neil Whitehouse
Laura Croxford
Laura Lawrence
Laura Littlewood
Lauren Phillips
Lee Ashbourne
Linda Ellis
M J Sections Ltd
Mandeep Kaur
Mandy Preece – The Inner Wheel
Mandy Preece [two donations]
Margaret Perry
Matthew Bedford
Megan & Daz Carpenter
Merry Hil Private Hire
Michael Steventon
Michelle Ledbury [Park Run]
Michelle Palmer
Mom & Pops Magic
Mr & Mrs Croke
Mr & Mrs Gerry Can
Mr Pardoe
Mrs Baldwin
Mrs Feroli
Natalie Polito
Our Lady and All Saints Catholic Church Stourbridge
Pattie Dee
Paul Cowland
Paula Constable – Maped Helix
Paula Wright
Penny Watton – DMBC
Philippa Spittle
Prospect Coaches
Rachel Turley
Rebecca Perry-Smith
Richard Fleming – Karma Forge
Richard Gardener
Ricky Harbourne
Rita Wassell
Rob Clarke
Ronnie Wheeler
Roslyn Elwell
Sam Atkinson DMBC
Sam Essex
Santa’s a Gangster
Sarah Offley
Sarah Pratt
Sharon Bailey DMBC
Shaun Kirvan-Cranfield
Sonya Hendy
St Mary’s Kingswinford
Stephen Storer
Steve – Brierley Hill Market
Steve Jones – SJ Carpentry
Steve Rea
Stuart Denyer DMBC
Sulayman Sultan
T Heath Haulage
The Glynne School Club
Tim Freeman & the mini gangsters
Tina Pickerill
via Brett Sticks and String
Wallheath Brownies, Guides and Rainbows
Waterloo Road Club
Wayne Wilkes
Wendy Comfort
Williams Anderston-Stevens