6 November 2017

I love turning the clocks back an hour, although after the initial excitement of having an extra hour to fill with fun stuff, or simply catch up on some sleep, the shorter days and longer nights signal it's time to hunker down instead and stay cosy as winter sets in. 

Feet together by the fire

It's a time when even the most vibrant streets in summertime, with neighbours chatting and children playing out, can become quieter places with all the life happening behind closed doors.  It can be difficult to make the effort to get out in the cold, and much harder to connect with neighbours when we're spending more time indoors.  However, the darker evenings also present opportunities to get together in different ways. 

First there's trick or treating which provides an excuse to chat with neighbours on the doorstep.  Then fireworks night on 5 November, with the chance to get together to build a community bonfire and share a warming stew or some treacle toffee with neighbours.

But our favourite winter activity of all is to get together and plan a lantern parade. A parade is a great way to keep that sense of community spirit going well into the winter months and offers lots of opportunities for everyone to participate in different ways, creating a really inclusive local event.

This is exactly what Alex Hall was looking for when her community was struggling with gang related violence.  So, after being inspired by the idea at one of our Community Camps, she got started organising lantern making workshops and a lantern parade with her community as a way to reclaim the streets.

So remember, winter isn't just for hunkering down in the cosy warmth, it's a great time to reach out to your community and create something magical together.  And if you're feeling as inspired as Alex was, there are handy guides to help you along the way!

We have step by step instructions for making lanterns, (you can also watch our very own Community Network Developer Diana making them below), and a guide to organising a lantern parade, so light up YOUR community this winter!