A SEA of red will come through a country park this winter as a festive fun run makes its return for charity.

The Braintree and Great Notley Santa Run is back again for 2023 to raise money for Hope House Essex.

Celebrating its sixth year, this festive fundraiser brings together hundreds of Santa-dressed runners to Great Notley Country Park to support the vital fight against homelessness.

The event is to support Hope House Essex, which operates two houses in Braintree and works to tackle homelessness.

A spokesman said: “The charity has been at the forefront of addressing the escalating issue of homelessness, further intensified by the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“With job losses and housing instability on the rise, the charity's role has become more crucial than ever.

“Operating two houses in Braintree, Hope House offers more than just temporary shelter, also having a comprehensive support system, assisting residents with job searches, securing permanent housing, and addressing other personal challenges.

“The charity's commitment extends beyond immediate needs, focusing on breaking the cycle of homelessness through ongoing support for those who have moved on.

“Hope House, in collaboration with Elim Church in Braintree, organises weekly meals for people who are homeless, former residents and those struggling in the community.

“As winter approaches, the urgency to support the homeless, providing them with essentials like tents and sleeping bags, grows ever more pressing.

“Urgent funds are needed to continue and expand these vital services.”

The Santa Run is open to anyone, and participants can complete the course by walking or running.

Tickets are available on eventbrite.co.uk and are free for those raising sponsorship.

Santa suits will be provided at the event, but any festive attire is encouraged.

The Santa Run kicks off at 1pm on Sunday, December 17.