A SHOPPING centre just a little out of town is hosting a free Santa's Grotto to bring in the festivities and raise money for Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

Over in Ashton-in-Makerfield, thirteen businesses have clubbed together to host a Santa's Grotto at Greensway Shopping Centre.

Hoping to bring in the festive cheer for families over Christmastime, the traders have decided to make the grotto free of charge to help with finances during the cost of living crisis.

Children will still receive a present to brighten their day, but the traders ask families to instead make a donation to Wigan and Leigh Hospice, which is loved by many and relies on public donations.

Leigh Journal:  (Image: Greensway Shopping Centre)

One of the traders, Jon Barr said: "We are all aware of the fantastic job the hospice does and it's very close to the hearts of the local community.

"[We are also aware of] the dire need to raise funds for the hospice so that they can still function as a charity.

"The team and I, are hoping that we can get support, no matter how big or how small, to spread the word that a meet and greet of Santa is coming to town."

While there is also a Christmas market in Ashton, the traders hope to offer something different for families and children who get the chance to meet Father Christmas himself.

The grotto will be open six days a week in the lead up to Christmas, while members from the hospice are providing charity donation buckets and t-shirts.

Christmas markets and festive events are also planned across Wigan and Leigh, with information found here.

Leigh Journal: