The pandemic saw a rise in significant operational and financial challenges, especially for the most clinically vulnerable groups.  St Catherine’s Hospice had a requirement to maintain excellent standards of care whilst also battling to sustain fundraising of 7.5million to support 2,450 people in West Sussex. They saw their comparable year on year income drop by 19.5% arising from the cancellation of most events and the closure of their shops during lockdowns. Swan Walk Shopping Centre in Horsham sought to find a way to use their Christmas celebrations to support this cherished local cause.

The desire to raise funds in both an original and COVID safe way gave rise to the creation of ‘The Give-mas Tree’. The centre’s traditional Christmas tree was overhauled into an interactive installation, providing an engaging – and most importantly – contactless way for visitors to give back during the festive period.

The centre worked closely with the charity and software engineers to create the first ‘Giving Tree’ to include bespoke coding, allowing the tap-to-donate pads to interact with the tree’s lighting and sound system. Custom donation points invited visitors to donate £3, £5, or £10 and when they tapped the tree, it thanked them with a special light show and unique sound for each amount. Donations were tracked in real-time, allowing Swan Walk to thank customers online. 

The centre used its website and social media, in addition to print advertising and targeted mobile display generating 78,272 digital impressions. The initiative received coverage by West Sussex Times with a stand-alone piece and a mention on their front cover. 

In total the tree raised £1,931 for St Catherine’s Hospice. The funds facilitated additional home visits to patients by their Practical Care Team ensuring they could stay at home.  


“I am thrilled to announce that the Give-mas Tree collected £1,931 over the festive period. Unfortunately, our focus on strategic income generation activity was paused during the year as we refocused our efforts to maximise our income. The community has been amazing and has continued to support us through this difficult year. We had to cancel our events programme for the year as a result of the pandemic and also felt the impact of lockdown on our corporate income. This is an incredible amount. Thank you so much for the opportunity once again. I honestly can’t find the words to communicate how much this meant to us after such a difficult two years.”

Francesca Palliser, Support Acquisition Fundraiser for St Catherine’s Hospice.