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Winter Windowland to light up festive season

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A wonderful ‘Winter Windowland' is set to blaze a trail of light and hope across Teesside in the run-up to the festive season.

The colourful initiative is a local drive to spread yuletide cheer and community spirit following a year of upheaval and uncertainty.

People are being urged to decorate and light up their windows and gardens to form part of a unique Winter Windowland Trail over the weekend of December 19 and 20.

A festive house with Christmas lights and decorations

Within the current coronavirus restrictions, people will be able to walk in their own family bubbles around the streets near to them and enjoy the illuminated seasonal displays.

The Trail was the brainchild of residents Alisha Partland and Lisa Storey, along with Middlesbrough Councillors Chris Cooke and Philippa Storey.

Craft bags - sponsored by Brotton Improvement Group and the Unison and Unite unions - are being provided for families who are finding things difficult and can be requested via the Facebook page.

The Trail culminates with the Teesside Christmas Eve jingle at 6pm (Facebook event), where children and families are encouraged to come to their doorsteps or windows on Christmas Eve at 6pm and jingle some Christmas bells or bang some pans to help Santa get enough Christmas spirit to fly around the world.

Creative practitioner Lisa said: "This project is a wonderful example of grass roots creativity.

"We are keen to encourage as many people to take part in the Winter Windowland Trail to provide a great alternative and Covid-safe way to enjoy the Christmas season."

Linthorpe ward Councillor Philippa Storey added: "After a dismal year, with upheaval and misery for many, and especially children, we're delighted to be able to get involved with something so positive and uplifting.

"We've got well over 600 members signed up already, and everyone seems keen to make the group as much fun as possible.

"We're doing free live and prerecorded Santa videos, so families who are struggling don't need to worry about cost, and Santa will also be doing us a weekly diary video to let us know how things are going at the North Pole.

"There are already micro trails popping up all over Teesside, so it's really important to us that everyone has the chance to take part."

Alisha Partland said: "The trail is fantastic to be involved in, and Hobbycraft have been wonderful donating items for craft bags to help families create their own winter window scenes."

Newport ward Councillor Chris Cooke said: "Our communities need something safe and fun to look forward in the run-up to Christmas.

"The last nine months have caused extreme hardship for many families and we all wanted to do something that would bring communities together in a safe way.

"Without the support of our amazing backers and sponsors, we wouldn't be able to provide resources to our families in the way in which we are."

The Winter Windowland Trail is being sponsored by the Unison and Unite local unions.

Unison Rep Paul Thompson said: "Unison Local government members are on the front line supporting our communities every day - we understand how important projects like the Window Wonderland are and are delighted to help support it.

"During these challenging times connecting with our neighbours, friends and families in person continues to be difficult.

"Sharing and participating in activities like this helps us all to feel part of a much bigger community - a huge thank you to Chris and Philippa for asking us to get involved!"

Find out more about the Teesside Winter Windowland Trail on Facebook.

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