A 3.5-metre-tall solid ice Christmas tree sounds cold – but the one coming to Manchester this December is anything but.

A team of artists will be sculpting the Christmas creation in the Great Northern Warehouse’s outdoor square on Wednesday 5th December, with the public invited to come down from 1-7pm to bring gifts, wrap them on-site and put them under it. At the end of the day, these gifts will be collected and later distributed to the homeless.

“Supporting the project are the national charities Shelter, Penny Appeal and local Manchester charity the Booth Centre,” says Claire Wardley, Director of Sand In Your Eye – the creative company behind the design and creation of the tree.

It’s a huge charitable effort for homeless, as not only will partner charity Penny Appeal collect and distribute the gifts, but The Booth Centre will be accepting 100 presents for their service users and the event will be supported by Shelter.

“Shelter Manchester is delighted to be part of this project, not only the amazing spectacle that is the ice tree, but the gifts, generosity of people and organisations and how this will highlight homelessness in Manchester and beyond. This project will help us to reach more people this Christmas,” says Lindsey Tilston Jones from the charity.

Homelessness is an acute issue in the area – with The Greater Manchester Combined Authority estimating that up to 500 people sleep rough in Greater Manchester every year.

At the beginning of this month, Mayor Andy Burnham announced A Bed Every Night initiative to ensure reliable shelter for those affected – all the more crucial in the cold months.

Increasing the awareness of homelessness and increasing public engagement with charitable efforts all helps towards Andy Burnham’s pledge to end rough sleeping by 2020. The upcoming ice tree also offers an opportunity to reach out with kindness.

Even the ice has been donated, thanks to The Ice Co who gave well over a tonne to the project. There will be plenty of wrapping paper available, donated by Hallmark – so the public can have fun wrapping gifts there and then, with a bustling team of volunteers.

“We would like people to bring unwrapped gifts,” says Charlotte Vale from the Booth Centre.

“People that use our centre will be invited to share Christmas with us and will each be given a present. These may be toiletries, winter warmers such as hats, scarves, gloves and socks, and food such as cakes, biscuits and chocolates.”

#IceXmasTreeMCR is supported by the Great Northern Warehouse and is set to be a memorable occasion, with the film director Bezmond due to make a short film about the day which will be available online.  

The Ice Christmas Tree will be built from 9am on Wednesday 5th December, with the public invited to bring unwrapped presents from 1pm until 7pm. For more information visit icechristmastree.org.uk and use #IceXmasTreeMCR for social media. If you would like to donate online then you can do so at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/icetreemcr.

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