The view back along High Street from the Bloxwich Christmas tree in Promenade Gardens is spectacular

Appeal to public to support Bloxwich Christmas lights

Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School
Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School

An appeal has gone out to members of the public in Bloxwich and district for desperately-needed financial assistance in supporting this year’s Bloxwich Christmas lights.

Contrary to popular belief, the sparkling annual decorations along the High Street and in trees adjacent to the War Memorial and All Saints churchyard, Bloxwich Park and the Promenade Gardens have not been funded by Walsall Council since the last round of government budget cuts in 2012, following which the local authority decided not to deliver Christmas lighting in the town.

Revived
Childhood recollections of trips to the 'Blocko Lights' on a trolleybus spring to mind as a double-decker speeds northwards
Childhood recollections of trips to the ‘Blocko Lights’ on a trolleybus spring to mind as a double-decker speeds northwards

As a result of this, and thanks to the organisational efforts of Nikki Rolls, the council’s District Centre Regeneration Officer for Bloxwich and Darlaston, working with Bloxwich Town Centre Partnership, the town centre businesses worked together and secured funding to purchase Christmas tree lighting.

The lighting purchased at the time was installed into 14 key trees in the town. Admired by all,  the new lighting has revived childhood memories for many, and encourages new visitors to the town centre who shop in the small local businesses and use the local facilities. The community are proud of the lighting as it showcases Bloxwich and all that makes it special.

Funding streams run dry

This year, however, due to the cost of repair and maintenance as a result of severe damage caused during last winter, new funds now need to be raised to do the necessary work to remedy these problems and place the lights in the trees again this festive season.

Unfortunately, external funding streams from the Local Neighbourhood Fund, local business sponsorship and localised one-off funding have now, sadly, dried up, and the lights face cancellation this year if £5,250 cannot be raised through public and other sponsorship.

Appeal
The new lights began in trees opposite the former Grosvenor Cinema on High Street (now The Bloxwich Showman)
The new lights began in trees opposite the former Grosvenor Cinema on High Street (now The Bloxwich Showman)

Accordingly, to save the Christmas lights for Bloxwich, Nikki Rolls has had no choice but to set up a JustGiving Appeal to try and raise the necessary funds.

If this cannot be done, then one of the favourite traditional aspects of Christmas in Bloxwich really will have been cancelled, ultimately due to government cuts, the cause of so much we have lost and are in danger of losing in Walsall borough.

Please help if you can

As someone who has seen just how much Nikki Rolls and Bloxwich Town Centre Partnership, working with Bloxwich Carnival Committee, the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix and many other local groups and churches have done together to promote Bloxwich and bring a little extra joy to the town and especially children with so many events over much of the last decade, I can only say that we really should all consider making a contribution if we can, no matter how small, and I and my mother will be making a personal donation ourselves. Here’s the page link:

Bloxwich Christmas Lights Appeal on JustGiving

If you need further information, please contact Nikki Rolls:

Walsall Council District Centre Management

If you care for Bloxwich, and want bright, sparkling Christmas memories of the town for your children and grandchildren like so many of us have from years gone by, please do take a look at Nikki’s JustGiving page via the above link, and see what you can do to help.

Stuart Williams, Editor

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