The founder of Leicester based Callum McKeefery is opening a Santa’s grotto designed for children with special needs.

The idea for the “Inclusive Grotto” came after Callum’s son was able to experience a visit from Santa in a safe way.

Hudson has a rare Mitochondrial Disease, which means the 5-year old can find loud environments and bright lights distressing.

“Last December while Covid numbers spiked, we wanted Hudson to be able to see Santa in a safe way. We were so lucky to have Santa (Hudson’s sweet Uncle Alan) offer to isolate, take a Covid test and come to our house to visit Hudson. For the first time seeing Santa was so enjoyable for all of us.

“Hudson had time to adjust to the big red suit and the white fluffy beard, without extra noise, without flashing lights, without chaos. Hudson watched Santa for a while and laughed as he sang Jingle Bells. After a few minutes he was happy to sit with Santa and we were able to get some really great photos. It sounds simple, but if you have a child like Hudson, you’ll understand the relief and joy we felt as parents.”

After this experience, the entrepreneur said he knew something needed to be done to allow all kids the joy of seeing Santa in an inclusive environment.

Callum decided to turn his new purchase, a building on Gallowtree Gate in Leicester, into a temporary grotto.

The grotto is completely free and funded by the Mckeefery Family, volunteers and sponsors.

So far more than 300 children have been booked on to see Santa and the aim is to reach 1,000.

If you would like to visit the Grotto visit here: