A message from the Chief Elf – It’s a wrap and THANK YOU😊 Covid hasn’t stopped us this Christmas!

I am delighted to announce that Operation Santa is officially over for this Covid Christmas 2020 and what a ride it’s been.  The last few collections have been made and there have certainly been a lot of those this year.

We have given gifts to 6204 children and young people this year, and received a record-breaking 38444 donations, both fairly incredible stats in these challenging times.

Groups and organisations who have never been supported before have received support this year, in addition to the regular schools, family centres and social workers, plus voluntary and community groups who support vulnerable children, young people and families.  We’ve reached more recipients than ever and have hopefully helped lots of families who are struggling this Christmas. There have been loads of food and toiletry donations this year, which shows that the lovely people who have supported us realise that many families are struggling for the essentials in life, not just presents.


THANK YOU to the super volunteer team

Trevor and Rose have worked their socks of sorting donations and picking gifts for the lists when they have come in. Without these two amazing people Operation Santa would never have happened.  The two of them have sorted three times more donations this year in their COVID ‘bubble’. Thank you too Andy Monk for providing sleigh collection and delivery services. 


THANK YOU To all our amazing supporters

  • Black Country Radio for their support with raising our profile and providing centralised info on their page about what we are doing. A true community radio station supporting our cause and helping us make a difference.
  • Brett Harris our Business Ambassador and his incredible network of supporters 
  • Lee Southerton from Volks Magic and Garry Aulton from Beerbuz, and Santa’s A Gangster, and their phenomenal family of VW supporters and local businesses. Garry also donated this year’s prize draw car, which was transformed into an amazing Herbie lookalike and was won by a very lucky Paul Holmes.

Our fabulous collection point network who have been brilliant this year and made it easier for people to drop off donations. This has worked so well we hope to do this again next year. These wonderful people have stepped up and taken on the challenges that the pandemic had presented, even continuing to accept donations in a safe manner during the lockdown. 

  • Halesowen BID
  • Brierley Hill Market
  • Cornish Pasty Box
  • Geoff Hill Electrical Superstore
  • Blaze Hair
  • Volks Magic
  • Black Country Cleaners
  • Duncan Edwards Foundation
  • The Works, Stourbridge
  • The LIttle Griddle, Halesowen

THANK YOU to every single one of the lovelies who have supported us this year 😊

Every £1 given and every single donation has made a real difference.

We wish you all a lovely festive break and hope that 2021 will be a big improvement on 2020. The elves and I will now be taking a well-earned break and see you all next year, when hopefully things will have returned to some type of normality.


Please don’t leave it too late to help Operation Santa Dudley borough!

First of all thank you so much to all the lovely people who have been supporting us so far with this year’s appeal. It’s been a real challenge with the multiple Covid restrictions, but we are doing our very best.

As you are aware we do not deal direct with families, but take support requests referrals from schools, voluntary and community groups, social workers, children’s centres etc.  Our closing date for donations is 18th December, but please don’t leave dropping off your gifts until then, as many schools and groups close at lunchtime that day, which means your presents will not be given out.  Social workers are of course working up until Christmas Eve and so are we, but please get your donations over to us as soon as you can. 

We have received over 40 lists so far and it’s not even December. Many of the lists are not from our regular 100 or so groups/schools/organisations that we support every year, so already demand is up and donations are down.

Please do your best and help us reach as many children and young people as possible this Covid Christmas 2020.

We’ve got a new grand total thanks to Poundland

I am delighted to say that we have just finished counting the huge pile of donations from the two Poundland shops in Dudley. With other donations from Blaze Hair and members of the public we are doing really well.

Thank you so much everyone we now have plenty of stocking fillers, but still need main presents. Please share, share, share and help us reach more children and young people this year. #covidwontstopus

Covid won’t stop us! Operation Santa Collection Points update


Huge thanks to Darren from the Cornish Pasty Box @cornishpastybox for stepping up to help.  He is offering an opportunity to drop gifts at the Cornish Pasty Box on his Click and Collect Days. 

The Cornish Pasty Box, Bradley Road, Wollaston, Stourbridge, DY8 1UX.  Near Lion Health Centre, opposite the Fitness Factory.

Tuesday 9-1 and Saturdays 10-2

He has the BEST pasties ever, so why not pick some up when you are in Stourbridge?


Blaze Hair, 37 Lapwood Ave, Kingswinford, DY6 8RP

Brett and the team are there Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th November to drop off until 8pm

Please use their Facebook page to arrange a drop off and Brett will arrange to meet you at a suitable time. @BlazeHairSalon


Black Country Shop and Duncan Edwards Foundation

257 Castle St, Dudley, DY1 1LQ

The shop is open for click and collect orders only, but the shutters will be up on the front of the shop and the door locked, so please knock on the door and they will take in your donations.

Monday to Friday  9-5

Saturday 9-3


Brierley Hill Market, High St, Brierley Hill DY5 3AP

The Market is open for food and essentials stalls only.  You may drop your donations to Steve – as you enter the Market through the entrance by the florist, his stall is the first on the left as you go into the Market.  It sells toiletries and household essentials.  Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9-3


Halesowen BID office, 1 Hagley Street, Halesowen, B63 3AS

Vicky and her team will be working throughout the pandemic, so if you wish to arrange to drop your donations, please message them via their social media to arrange a suitable time when they will be at the office. @HalesowenBID  


Volks Magic, 111a Park Ln, Oldbury B69 4LP

The team will be working throughout and are delighted to take your donations.


Black Country Cleaners, 14 Marmion Grove, Dudley DY1 2DG

Tel: 07990 277785

Mon-Sat 9-6

Sun 9-2

A huge shout out to the lovely Matt Cook for stepping up to help as always.

If you would like to make a donation and can’t get to one of the above collection points, please contact the team on:

FACEBOOK: @opsantadudleyborough

PHONE: 07860 644468 – Mon-Sat 10-4

EMAIL:  opsantadudborough@gmail.com

Collection Points for 2020

I am delighted to announce our list of collection points for this year, although you may also drop items at our central grotto by arrangement. Please message us via our Facebook page or email: opsantadudborough@gmail.com to arrange a collection or drop off.

Area Who? Address Opening times
Oldbury Volks Magic 111a Park Ln, Oldbury B69 4LP Monday to Saturday 8:30-4:30
Amblecote Geoff Hill Electrical Superstore 7 High St, Amblecote, Stourbridge DY8 4DE Monday to Saturday 9-5:30 Sunday 10:30-4:30
Brierley Hill Steve or Joshua Stone Brierley Hill Market Hall High St, Brierley Hill DY5 3AP Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 8-4
Coseley The Apple Tree Pub    
Dudley The Black Country Shop/ Duncan Edwards Foundation 257 Castle St, Dudley, DY1 1LQ Monday to Friday  9-5 Saturday 9-3
Halesowen Halesowen Bid Office 1 Hagley Street, Halesowen, B63 3AS Monday  to Friday 9-4
Kingswinford Blaze Hair 37 Lapwood Ave, Kingswinford, DY6 8RP Monday to Saturday 9-4
Stourbridge Maxi Saver, The Ryemarket Shopping Centre High St, Stourbridge DY8 1HJ Monday to Saturday 9-5

We need YOUR help to ensure that no child thinks Santa has forgotten them this Christmas! #Covidwontstopus

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and we have all been affected.  Our annual Operation Santa Dudley borough appeal has been bringing smiles to children’s faces for over 40 years. We want to make sure  that no child thinks Santa has forgotten them.

This year Christmas will be tougher than ever for those families who were already struggling and those who are now in a bad position due to Covid. Maybe they have lost their jobs, had their hours reduced or worst still lost Mum or Dad to Covid-19.  We realise that requests for support will be up on last year’s and donations will be down, but #TeamSanta are going to do their level best.

We need YOU to help

  • please share our poster and wishlists with family, friends, colleagues, ANYONE who you think would like to help
  • follow us on our Facebook Page and help share our stories to spread the word about what we do
  • there is a prize draw car to be won again thanks to the fabulous Lee Southerton and his team of amazing supporters. You could win this car for just £5 a ticket, so please help us spread the word as every penny raised goes to Operation Santa.

Together we can do this 🙂


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.




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:



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