a picture of a house is held up by a hand at the entrance to a street

Herne Hill street brings light with community advent calendar to raise money for Trussell Trust

Lambeth residents have transformed their street into a community advent calendar this month in an effort to bring Christmas cheer to the area.

Inhabitants of Herne Hill’s Brantwood Road have decorated and lit up one front-facing window on the street for each day in December.

The festive project was intended to help brighten this year’s holiday season which has been marred by coronavirus restrictions.

Organiser Polly Wilson said: “Given we were in lockdown when December started, I thought it would be nice to organise something for the street and give parents something to do with their kids every evening.”

As part of the advent calendar, residents are fundraising via a JustGiving page for a nearby foodbank run by the Trussell Trust.

Wilson explained: “We wanted to raise money for other people in the area who are having a tough time this year while also brightening up a rather depressing December.”

Residents were invited to sign up to take part in the advent calendar in late November with a festive flyer drawn by Wilson.

The organiser and artist then created a detailed map of the road, allocating one resident to each date and doubling up on weekends.

Residents were told to make their window as elaborate or simple as desired, provided the display featured Christmas lights and the date.

Ruth Viscovich of window 12 said the project was a natural progression from the NHS rainbows pasted in windows across the country during the first lockdown. 

A bay window decorated with a number 12 and with teh words 12 drummers drumming in stickers on the window panes
SENSE OF COMMUNITY: The windows are brightening up the street

She said: “The street has a really nice sense of community anyway, but this was a great way to show off what we’re thankful for this year and just have a bit of fun.”

For others the project was a welcome distraction during the second lockdown and helped keep residents busy coming into the festive season. 

Sophie Lo, whose window depicted her view of London from the house, said: “I think it was good for our mental wellbeing during the second lockdown because it kept us busy and gave us something to look forward to at Christmas.”

The windows range from classic festive scenes to trees with colourful cardboard cut-outs of birds as well as humorous takes on the 12 days of Christmas carol.

Jenny Panayi, who unveiled a tinselled number 10 earlier this month, said her design was all about bling.

PERFECT TEN: Jenny aimed for bling to bring some light to the world

She explained: “When it came to our day, we got some cardboard, wrapped tinsel all around it and then added as many lights as we possibly could. It’s all about bling really because we need it to get us through this dark period.”

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