“In Belfast there’s a real sense of community which emerges from all sorts of different pockets of our society - in art education, sports. There is so much overlap in these, and I think Belfast is a place where there is a real sense of wanting to support what everyone is doing, It is a very generous place.”

Emily DeDakis works at Fighting Words Belfast, a creative writing charity for young people. They have a centre in East Belfast and run workshops for schools and community group, and special groups to provide an in-depth look at writing and as well as a regular Write club. Emily is also involved in other charities and has realised the incredible impact that Black Santa brings to the local charities around Belfast.

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Fighting Words Belfast relies on the money raised through Black Santa so they can continue inspiring young people. “With this year’s funding, we hope to be able to grow our amazing Write Club. Because everything is online, we can reach many young people and the funding we’ve got will be able to support us to recruit more mentors for the programme.”

With Black Santa opening an online platform this year for the first time, Emily realises how important this new resource is for Fighting Words Belfast and the other charities as well.

 “We are learning to find new communities and to keep them going by connecting over different platforms. We’re incredibly grateful for the visibility that we’ll get from appearing on the website, and it’s interesting for the cathedral to show the places that they are able to support. As charities connected by this fund, we’ll get to know and support each other too.” 

The success of Black Santa relies on the generous nature of the Belfast community. Without them, charities like Fighting Words Belfast would be unable to give the services they do.  

As Emily says, “If people in Belfast want something to happen, they just do it.”

This is something that is proven time and time again as Black Santa rolls around and this year will undoubtedly be proven again. 

To find out more about Fighting Words NI, visit their website here.