How we claimed our street back - and lit it up!

Marching band at a lantern parade.

Alex, manager of a local youth club, found that working with the Eden Project left her bursting with ideas and inspiration to do the kind of things that she, her club and local community wouldn’t have otherwise done. She now runs a range of craft activities in the club’s youth sessions. ‘We've tried out some small things such as making birds from milk bottles and having a hat making competition at one of our Big Lunch events.’

Our community often feels unsafe on our streets at night. Unfortunately, we struggle with gang-related violence so we wanted to run the parade as a sign of claiming back our streets.

What they did

It was the winter lantern parade she saw being held at the Eden Project that really captured her imagination, and she returned home keen to do something similar in her own area of East London. ‘Our community often feels unsafe on our streets at night. Unfortunately, we struggle with gang-related violence so we wanted to run the parade as a sign of claiming back our streets.’

In the month leading up to the parade, local school pupils and parents took part in lantern making workshops, creating fantastic structures of all shapes and sizes out of willow and other natural materials. Then over 100 paraders from across the community gathered to process through the streets of the estate with their festive lanterns, accompanied by a miniature marching band of drums and kazoos. The Lincoln Light Parade was born.

A celebration of light and hope

‘The creativity people showed in building their lanterns was amazing, and we were blown away by the joyful spirit of the parade and the number of people who came out onto the streets and their balconies to cheer us on,' says Alex. 'The event was a celebration of light and hope at a dark time of year, and it was wonderful to see how it succeeded in grabbing people’s imaginations and bringing people together from across our community.’

 

What next?

Her next idea is to look at setting up a community cinema. ‘I love the idea of a community cinema as it is so expensive where I live, and most of the families I work with can’t afford to go.’

Start your own lantern parade

Fancy running a parade of your own in your area? Read our handy guide that shows you how to start a lantern parade and make it a success.