THE Andersonstown community is refusing to cancel Christmas this year even though they've been refused a Christmas tree by Belfast City Council for health and safety reasons.

The Upper Andersonstown Community Forum at Tullymore (UACF) have been working in conjunction with local councillors to try and have a tree installed outside Andersonstown Leisure Centre and lit up at the end of their festive parade next Wednesday.

Michael George, director of UACF, expressed disappointment that Andersonstown would not now be getting a tree.

“We are building on our Christmas activities from last year where we had Santa coming to Tullymore, sleigh rides through the area for local kids and on the 6 December in the evening we’re having a carnival parade down through the middle of Andersonstown with local children. The Rossa choir and Santa on his sleigh with Mrs Christmas will be there and we’ll be going down to Andersonstown Leisure Centre," he said.

SANTA: Santa, his helpers and local children at last year's parade

SANTA: Santa, his helpers and local children at last year's parade

“Our one disappointment is we have been lobbying Council to get a Christmas tree and some of our local councillors have been engaged in trying to make this happen from late August onwards. We’ve had great engagement with GLL who have supported us but for health and safety reasons Council have said we cannot have a tree and listed 14 issues to do with health and safety.

“That’s been the one disappointment that we won’t have a Christmas tree there and we only found out a few weeks ago. We will just be going with what we have and GLL have been very good at working with us and we will be hosting some other features including the Féile Women’s Choir and a lighting activity with Santa providing some goodies for the kids. 

“We would invite people to come along and meet us at Tullymore and meet us at 6.30pm – it would have been nice to have the tree and we’re hoping through local councillors we will be able to get one next year. I think Andersonstown deserves a Christmas tree, it’s a great focus and as a main shopping area I think the local traders would also appreciate one too. Hopefully Council can make it happen next year.

The parade will take place from the Upper Andersonstown Community Forum at around 6 to 6.30pm on Wednesday 6 December. There will also be a Christmas dinner for all the Andersonstown seniors at the PD on 18 December catering for 80 plus people.