YOUNG singers will give shoppers a Christmas treat next month after securing a new venue for their annual festive performance.
For the past 15 years, primary and secondary schools across Hartlepool have performed carols in the foyer at the Tesco Extra store, in Burn Road, with all proceeds going to the NSPCC in town.
But this year the performance will be held at Asda, off Marina Way, after Tesco were forced to cancel the booking after agreeing to help out another charity on the same day.
Bosses at the NSPCC have hit out at Tesco because schools had already arranged and booked their transport for the day.
But Tesco said they only wanted to bring forward the activity by one day so it didn’t clash with another charity event going on in store.
Cancer Research UK, the charity which Tesco has supported all year, are due in store on the days scheduled.
But Jane Starling, treasurer at Hartlepool NSPCC, said the school transport was already booked so the dates couldn’t be altered.
She said: “This had been arranged since March and we only found out this week that it was no longer possible, just two weeks before the schools were coming to perform.
“Thankfully Asda have stepped in to help at the last minute and we are very grateful for their support because this is an important fundraiser.
“It wouldn’t be going ahead if they hadn’t agreed to host the event, which would have also meant the schools missing out because they had already arranged their transport.”
This year, a total of 15 schools, including Manor College of Technology and High Tunstall College of Science, will be performing on Thursday, December 6 and Friday, December 7 between the hours of 9.30am and 2.30pm.
Children will be performing in the foyer of the main reception at the Asda store.
Hartlepool NSPCC says all the money raised goes towards helping children in this area who have been the victims of neglect, physical, sexual or mental abuse.
A Tesco spokesman said: “Our Hartlepool Extra store helps dozens of local charities and the NSPCC have been holding collections there for many years. “Unfortunately, on the dates they asked to come into store this year, we have another charity activity going on for Cancer Research UK and so have asked the NSPCC if they could come in a day or two earlier.
“We’re sorry if they are in anyway disappointed by this.”
Mike McNamara, manager at the Asda Hartlepool store, said: “We are always looking at ways at helping in the community and we do a lot of community work.
“We are delighted to be able to help the NSPCC and are looking forward to having the school pupils in store.”