Santa and his elves welcomed the families and supporters of two charities when he opened his Christmas grotto at a shopping centre this week.

intu’s very own Old Saint Nick gave gifts and well wishes to guests from Watford Mencap and Home-Start on Wednesday, from his wintery log cabin in the gallery space above Next.

Visitors from Watford Mencap, who support people with learning disabilities, and Home-Start, a family support service, were invited by the shopping centre as part of their free charity day – and after giving the big guy their Christmas lists, the kids left with a little something to keep them going until the big day.

intu Watford general manager Vicki Costello said: “It was wonderful to welcome the two charities to the shopping centre, and to put a smile on all those children’s faces. That’s what Christmas is all about.

“They all had a great time and we wish them all a very merry Christmas from all of us at intu Watford.”

Emma Bryan, coordinator at Home-Start Watford & Three Rivers said; “Whilst Christmas is a fun and exciting time of the year that many of us look forward to, it can also be a time of additional stress and anxiety for some.

“We are so grateful to intu Watford for engaging in the true spirit of Christmas; of giving and working with us to provide such a wonderful experience for the families we support.

“One of our families said ‘I cannot express what it meant to be able to take my son to see Santa for the first time. He is growing so fast, and it is these experiences that mean so much.”

intu’s wrapping service is situated on the lower mall by M&S and Three

To book tickets for Santa’s grotto online and to check opening times, visit