Older People Light Up the South Bristol Sky with Window Wanderland!

9 Feb 2017

Older residents of Gaywood House in North Street, and Northfield House in Dean Lane will be lighting up the skies of BS3 by decorating the windows of their tower blocks  – and want everybody to look up to see them during February’s Bedminster Window Wanderland!

Window Wanderland founder, Lucy Reeves Khan, and three other artists Amy Creech, Elise Hurcombe and Sarah Herbertson are working with Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) to help older residents create vibrant window displays to connect people and bring smiles to the Window Wanderland audience. BAB is a partnership dedicated to reducing social isolation and loneliness among older people and make Bristol a ‘brilliant place to grown old’.

"Many residents of Gaywood House have been choosing what they would like to put in their windows, and already some have made theirs, and can be seen in the windows at night", says Lucy. "We have been really pleased to see the residents having a go at doing something different, some meeting each other for the first time over cutting out their display!"

Resident from Gaywood House showing his display

Photo credit: Window Wanderland

Creative community initiative

“I started Window Wanderland as a way of both bringing people together and brightening up the dark winter nights. We encourage everyone to join in the fun by decorating a window, or just enjoying a walk through their neighbourhood with a reason to connect with neighbours by peeking into their decorated windows”, says Lucy.  Ben Barker from Greater Bedminster Community Partnership recognised Window Wanderland as an opportunity to involve older residents, and supported Lucy in getting Kick-Start Funding from BAB to be able to work with older residents in the tower blocks. “We look forward to seeing the resident of Gaywood House and Northfield House take part in this activity along with other residents of BS3, either by decorating their own windows or by walking around the area seeing other displays”, Ben added.

BAB's Community Kick-Start Fund allows organisations, groups and individuals to seek up to £2,000 for a new activity that is likely to reduce isolation and loneliness for older people. So far the fund has provided funding to 49 new activities across the city, committing around £82,000 towards to the successful applicants.

Window Wanderland is a community initiative started three years ago in Bristol by Lucy Reeves-Khan. With the aim of encouraging community connections through annual winter events, the fun of Window Wanderland has spread outside of the city as far as London and Harrogate. Lucy was recently named one of Happy City’s ‘Happiness Champions’ for 2017, a recognition born out of a need to provide an antidote to all those rich lists and celebrity lists which worship at the shrine of the wealthy, the bonus-getters, and the tax avoiders. This list honours a different set of values – naming the people who have, without any thought of personal gain or recognition, done so much to make their communities better adjusted places leading to their cities and thus countries becoming a better and happier place.

Theatre masks display

Lighting up the dark winter nights

The weekend of 24th to the 26th February, between 6-9pm, will see the colour and humour of Window Wanderland returning to Southville, Ashton and parts of Bedminster as residents draw back their curtains and light up the streets with all kinds of displays in their windows and gardens.

Last year’s Bedminster Window Wanderland was “a real testament to just how amazing the people of Bristol can be says Lucy. “From Barbie discos, rockets going to the moon and whole streets looking like they’re underwater, the range of ideas was mind blowing last year in BS3 – I can’t wait to see the range of ideas that will light up BS3’s streets this February.” Neither can we, Lucy! 


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