For the last five years, the Whitehall Park Living Advent Calendar has brought our little patch of Archway in North London together. Every night from the 1st to 24th December, a different house or community hub in the neighbourhood has taken it in turns to reveal a festive window. We've gathered to watch gorgeous homemade windows get revealed, share mince pies and mulled wine on the pavement - and had a lovely time getting to know each other better.
Other communities from across Britain have expressed an interest in organising Living Advent Calendars in their own neighbourhoods. Even before the Guardian published an article about our project, half a dozen other people had got in touch with Amy to get tips on how to go about setting up their own calendars. Since the Guardian article, many more people have been reaching out to ask for advice. As the initiative becomes more well-known, it seems likely that this demand will grow.
Amy runs the not-for-profit, Mental Health Collective, which has a mission to help people come together so that they are healthier, happier and better able to flourish. Mental Health Collective would like to create a set of resources to make it easy and fun for people around the country to organise their own Living Advent Calendars.
We have set a campaign target of raising £600, which would enable us to create the following:
- A project planning template with each key stage of the organisational process mapped out
- An 'inside track' write up of the different challenges we have faced over the years and how we overcame them
- A 'how to' guide on creating a flyer, aimed at those without much graphics design experience
- A system for diary reminders/email alerts for when key organisational moments roll around in the year
- A social media forum so that Living Advent Calendar organisers can offer each other peer support
By providing these resources, Mental Health Collective will support community organisers around the country to run their own Living Advent Calendars - and help bring neighbourhoods together across the UK.