The 2021 Black Santa appeal at Belfast Cathedral has raised £150,000 to support the vital work of charities across Northern Ireland.
This will be distributed to around 200 organisations at the annual Good Samaritans Service, which returns in person in St Anne’s on February 6 – the 2021 service was held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The 45th Black Santa Sit-out on the Cathedral steps began on December 13 and continued until Christmas Eve.
Black Santa himself, Dean Stephen Forde, said the sum raised had exceeded his expectations.
“On December 23, having reached £100,000, I issued the challenge for us to hit £150,000, and it is amazing that we achieved this,” Dean Forde said.
“The £150,000 total exceeded my expectations in a year of restricted footfall, and when many of the Cathedral’s major events had been cancelled because of the Covid restrictions.”
The Dean said that while the total raised in 2020 was £220,000, the appeal that year had received a one-off legacy of £100,000.
“So this year we raised £150,000 in direct donations, compared with the £120,000 raised last year,” Dean Forde said.