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The History

of Black Santa

In 1976 Dean Sammy Crooks started the tradition of sitting out in front of Belfast Cathedral, collecting money from passersby, with the money then being distributed to local charities. Things have changed only slightly, with the addition of contactless payments last year which people could use when they visited the Cathedral. 

However this year things are markedly different because of the pandemic restrictions.To help maintain that connection with the public and the charities, the Sit-Out has added a new way for people to visit and support. You’re now able to donate online and learn more about the charities that Black Santa helps, on this website, making Black Santa accessible for all.

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Black Santa through the years

Black Santa was started in the darkest days of the Troubles, when virtually nothing happened in the city centre and people would hurry in and hurry out before darkness fell. People remember Black Santa throughout those darkest days as something that gave hope and that brought people together throughout the entire community and the city, so it was a place where the barriers in all senses were lowered and the spirit of Christmas overcame the darkness the people were looking through. That was an important part of the foundation of the Black Santa.