How Leeds businesswoman is working as part of national scheme to bring festive cheer to families

Gill Wood is one of the organisers behind a Christmas window scheme to spread festive cheer among families and raise money for charity. Laura Reid reports.
Feeling festive: Gill Wood, who runs ARTventurers in West Leeds.Feeling festive: Gill Wood, who runs ARTventurers in West Leeds.
Feeling festive: Gill Wood, who runs ARTventurers in West Leeds.

Quite what it will show is still a secret but Gill Wood will soon be putting the finishing touches to a festive window display at her home in Horsforth.

Its dual purpose will see it form part of a nationwide initiative to spread cheer among families whilst raising money for a charity tackling hunger and food waste and it will also contribute to a Leeds scheme designed to make the countdown to Christmas a community affair that people can celebrate safely in light of the Covid-19 restrictions.

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Businesswoman Gill owns the ARTventurers West Leeds franchise, delivering art classes for babies, toddlers and children in Pudsey and Guiseley.

She is one of the national ARTventurers team organising a nationwide window trail to help bring the magic of Christmas alive for families after what has been a difficult year.

The Big Neighbourhood Winter Windowland Trail will see households across the country create displays in their windows.

Over the weekend of December 19 and 20, children and their families can then take part in trails in their local areas to spot the designs, with the scheme being branded as an alternative to some of the Christmas events that have been cancelled this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“So many festive activities have been cancelled or have been booked up well in advance this year,” says Gill. “But as a business working with families every day, we know how much children look forward to the Christmas celebrations. So the ARTventurers team came up with The Big Window Wonderland Trail as great way to ensure they don’t miss out completely.”

Organisers, who ran trails for Easter, VE Day and Halloween, hope the scheme will also encourage families to get creative and crafty together, making art and decorations from what they have in their homes. Printable templates can also be downloaded from the ARTventurers website.

Already thousands of households are set to take part in the festivities, with nearly 80,000 people following the trail’s page on Facebook.

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“Our previous events showed us that people love things to look forward to despite the pandemic, and also how creative and resourceful people are,” Gill says. “Already people are designing their windows and getting their decorations out of storage and sharing their ideas in the group. It’s going to be a great event and something to look forward to.”

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Those who get involved are being encouraged to make a contribution to Fareshare, a charity which takes good quality surplus food and redistributes it to charities and community groups.

“It has been a really tough year for everybody,” Gill says. “Charities are suffering in terms of funding, particularly with many people having less money to spend. This is a way that people can make a contribution.”

Her window display will also form part of the Horsforth Countdown to Christmas Community Advent Calendar, organised by Horsforth Walk of Art.

Each evening until December 24, local residents are taking it in turns to reveal a festive-themed window, which will then be lit up every subsequent night over the Christmas period. Extra scenes will also be displayed in shops, businesses and churches.

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The design of each window is due to be kept secret until the day it is revealed and illuminated.

For more on The Big Neighbourhood Winter Windowland Trail, visit donate to support Fareshare, visit