The Northern Affinity has launched a campaign to encourage businesses across the north to celebrate Christmas 2020 in August as it strives to help the hospitality industry and independent businesses bounce back.
Declaring 16th to 22nd August ‘Northern Christmas Week’, the firm is inviting businesses and individuals across the north to show their support by hosting a virtual or safe face-to-face Christmas event.
Businesses in the north will also be able to register their services on a special Christmas directory which those getting involved and hosting events will be able to use to find suppliers, entertainment, and venues.
Michael Edwards, founder said it’s the boost that both businesses and individuals need after missing out on Christmas 2020.
“While we were able to party over Zoom last Christmas, our hospitality industry faced over £700m in losses from a lack of Christmas office parties alone. And let’s not even talk about the biggest annual decline of retail sales on record that happened in 2020,” he said.
“Due to the restrictions of lockdown and the worry of catching COVID-19, many businesses quite rightly didn’t hold their annual Christmas parties, which not only affected the events industry, but also employees’ abilities to strengthen their relationships with their colleagues.
“There are many business owners continuing to work from home who run the risk of further isolation as their partners and children return to home and school. Encouraging safe attendance to events will reduce this risk significantly, and official events held by organisations are a much safer way to bring people together and be controlled from a health and safety perspective. That’s why we created this campaign,” he added.
Throughout Northern Christmas Week, The Northern Affinity will be collaborating with several small independent businesses to host their own events appropriate for a summer Christmas.
On 18th August 2021 – the official ‘Northern Christmas Day’ – the firm will host its own Christmas party at Manor House in Lindley for its partners and their guests, as well as interested northerners.
Other events will be released via the ‘Northern Christmas What’s on’ page in Mid-July, where businesses getting involved will also be able to showcase their events.
Michael said: “As the economy begins to reopen, we don’t want to witness a sudden return to using large suppliers and or a shift of business going South, so we want to showcase the skillsets and quality of businesses within the North to help our economy bounce back.
“We need to keep the community spirit alive that was demonstrated throughout lockdown and #mynorthernchristmas is a way we can join together to raise awareness and support this mission.”
To ensure that the vulnerable don’t miss out, part of the ticket sales for the event will be donated to Simon on the Streets and used to provide homeless people with a warm Christmas Dinner.
This will be led by the regional team at St Anne’s Resource Centre and will also take place on August 18th.
The meal itself will be filmed by Simon on the Streets and streamed to attendees of The Northern Affinity Christmas Party, where CEO Natalie Moran will also deliver a heart-warming speech about the important work done by the Charity.
Those who don’t purchase a ticket will also be able to donate a Christmas dinner via the Simon on the Streets website from Mid-July.
Natalie Moran, CEO at Simon on the Streets said: “Sadly homelessness is not going away, indeed we are seeing more and more cases being referred to us across West Yorkshire.
“Clients who have fallen through the cracks of temporary accommodation during the ‘Everyone In’ scheme and also families on the brink of homelessness due to the ending of the Eviction Ban.
“As an independent charity we want to ensure we remain ‘out there’ to meet the increasing demand we know is inevitable over the next 12 months.”
Michael added: "It is no secret that the UK continues to have a homelessness issue, so we are proud to lend support to a fantastic charity like Simon on The Streets who are working hard to change that.
“Whilst our event is focused on supporting local businesses and reengaging people to celebrate Christmas 2020, we are also acutely aware how fortunate we are to be able to host and attend an event like this.
“We have a group of partners who have a strong social awareness, and they are determined to try and help in any way possible. Many SME's find it difficult to support charities on their own and so hopefully a collective group effort like this will make a real difference.”