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SPARK:York offers opportunities to make a positive impact this Christmas

Photo by Edward Matthews

This holiday season, SPARK:York, the community space on Piccadilly, celebrates the spirit of giving and creativity with a range of exciting events and initiatives for local people.

At the heart of SPARK's festive offerings is the Charity Gift Wrapping service. Every weekend leading up to Christmas, visitors can have their presents wrapped by a team of dedicated volunteers, with all donations going to support local charities: York Mind, The Island York, Carecent York, and Kyra Women's Project. Some of the gift wrapping paper for the fundraiser has been kindly donated by Olive and Mabel, Shared Earth, and Morrisons & Waitrose at Foss Islands.

In the spirit of spreading holiday cheer, SPARK will be celebrating the National Christmas Jumper Day on Thursday 7th December! Visitors are encouraged to put on their most festive knits and help raise funds for Christmas hampers filled with essential food items for those in need. The hampers will be distributed via SPARK's General Store, a weekly zero-waste supermarket providing groceries for the local community and subsidised through the SPARK C.I.C model. It's run every Wednesday and Saturday 9:00am-10:30am to support lower-income families and individuals across York who may be struggling with food insecurity.

SPARK is also proud to showcase the incredible work of local artists and independent makers. The venue is hosting a curated presentation featuring a diverse range of artistic creations, from handmade crafts to unique artworks. The multimedia showcase not only highlights the exceptional talent within the community but also provides an opportunity for visitors to support local creatives and find one-of-a-kind gifts for their loved ones this Christmas. The showcase can be viewed on Piccadilly Tap terrace from Tuesday to Sunday during opening hours.

Next up, SPARK has put together a Gingerbread Trail, based on the gingerbread character ideas suggested by their social media followers. The five winning concepts have been brought to life by talented local graffiti artists: Hyro, The Medicine Man, SOLA, Boxxhead and Rizak (the last three recently participated in the Educated Vandals street art exhibition raising funds for York Mind).

Their creations can be found across the venue, highlighting their talent and the important role that local graffiti artists play in bringing life, colour, and valuable social commentary to public spaces.

SPARK will also host a festive edition of their monthly Makers Market, featuring a selection of handcrafted, sustainable, and locally-made goods. The event will take place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th December, with Mimishop by Amelia, Kim's Clay, Wistoragic Designs, Charis Raine Studio, Rosie Glow Shop and The So Cute Company trading on Saturday, and Mindful Mandalas, Olive and Mabel, Capella Harmony, Metallic Deceivers, Kyra Women's Project and Agnes Wares on Sunday.

The venue also provides a collection point for The Hygiene Bank where local residents can donate essential toiletries and personal care items for those in need in order to help tackle hygiene poverty.

Emily Youngson, Event Coordinator at SPARK, says “This year for Christmas, we've tried to focus on how we can use our venue to serve the community in innovative and unique ways. Between our Gingerbread Pals Project to our Christmas Jumper Day, to our Independent Business Showcase on the projector screen, this December is jam-packed with activities for people of all ages and walks of life.''

SPARK invites individuals and families to join them in embracing the true spirit of the season. There are also plenty of events available for all ages: the launch of Cooper King’s new whisky, Gua Sha group sessions with Power and Peace Therapies, Retro Games Night by Sore Thumb Retro Games, and so much more. For more information about SPARK's festive events and initiatives, please visit their website.