Living advent calendar brings Leeds neighbours together

There have been heartwarming scenes in the run up to Christmas in Burley as residents started a living advent calendar in a bid to get to know their neighbours better.

By Joe Cooper
Monday, 9th December 2019, 6:00 am
Residents of the Lumleys have gathered to see the latest windows being unveiled.
Residents of the Lumleys have gathered to see the latest windows being unveiled.

Windows around the Lumleys have been beautifully decorated as people take it in turns to unveil a new window for each day of advent.

Tamsin Macdonald, who moved to the area a year ago, came up with the idea of the Lumley Illuminations when in the pub with friends.

She designed a poster and created a Facebook page which invited her neighbours to get involved.

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One of the Lumley Illuminations.

"We know some of our neighbours, but there are a lot of people who are working or are young professionals," said Tamsin, who works in health and wellbeing in Kirklees.

"When you see people in the street you might say hello but it never really goes beyond that. We wanted to get some conversations going beyond small talk."

Some houses have simply switched lights on at a certain time, while others have invited people to countdown to the unveiling with mulled wine and mince pies.

For Tamsin and her neighbours, it's been about more than just the windows - it has started conversations with people they may never have previously spoken to.

The invitation Tamsin made for her neighbours.

Around ten properties are currently taking part, but it is hoped the project will grow each year and become a permanent fixture.

"We're all so self-sufficient and independent nowadays - if you need some sugar you can just go to the shops nearby," said Tamsin, who has stayed in Leeds since coming to the city as a student in 2004.

"We sometimes act as if we don't really need anybody, but everybody does want to connect - it's just sometimes we need an excuse to do it.

"Then people build relationships, start to trust each other and feel like they can ask for help and support each other."