The 'Black Santa' tradition at Belfast Cathedral was started in 1976 by Dean Sammy Crooks. The local press described Dean Crooks as Belfast's Black Santa.
All the money gathered is donated to local charities with a proportion given to Christian Aid. The charities supported are those with an annual income of £200,000 or less.
For 2023, the Black Santa Appeal will have a special focus support on those local charities which
- Support the most disadvantaged families and individuals in our community at this time of the continuing "cost of living crisis"
- work with those most impacted by drug abuse in Northern Ireland
- Provide bereavement support services in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.
However the Black Santa Appeal continues to accept applications from a very wide range of charities at work in Northern Ireland, including: those working with refugee communities; those caring for children, youth and the elderly; the improvement of employment opportunities for young people and a host of small charities which cannot afford paid fund-raisers.
All the funds raised in the days before Christmas are distributed to charities at the Good Samaritans’ Service, which in 2024 will be held on Sunday 4th February.
Application forms can be downloaded at https://www.belfastcathedral.org/news/black-santa-application-forms-2023
The Cathedral also accepts donations large and small. We make sure they are put to good use...
As you can imagine, maintaining a large and beautiful building like Belfast Cathedral is a costly business. Every day we are delighted to welcome visitors for tours of St Anne’s, but we also seek to raise funds to help with the ongoing expenses. Donations made here will help us stay open and further the work to which we are called by Christ in a city that needs this Cathedral to be active and involved in its life.