Princes Avenue community turns crafty for Christmas

Decorating outside Artlink
Princes Avenue community members have come together to make decorations to help their neighbourhood sparkle at Christmas.

Christmas visited Hull’s Princes Avenue in fabulous, festive style on Saturday as the whole community came together to decorate and celebrate.

Saturday morning saw the culmination of weeks of collaborative work across the area as numbers 25 and 26 on the #WeMadeThis Christmas Threes trail got under way at Artlink and Westbourne House.  It also saw Princes Avenue festooned with homemade garlands.

Members of Princes Avenue Community & Traders (PACT) and the grassroots group Avenues Action joined staff and residents of Westbourne House, where more than 50 hand-crafted baubles had been made in a workshop run at the facility by local craftivist Jane Hawes of craft collective #WeMadeThis.  

“We Made This is all about inclusion. We open our crafting to all ages and abilities. Churches, women’s groups, cubs, brownies and this year Westbourne House joined us in a maker day,” she said. “We had a lovely day there with residents and staff making baubles for their two trees.”

Manager Danny Allman said Westbourne House was more than happy to be included, adding they were “really looking forward to [it]…. The trees look great.”

Tree decorating outside Westbourne House.
Tree decorating outside Westbourne House.

Jean Hart of Avenues Action was enthusiastic about the event, saying: “I attended the bauble-making workshop, which was a first for me.  It was a really sociable event and thoroughly enjoyable.

“I then wanted to get involved in displaying them.  The lads from Westbourne House were very helpful.  As a 69-year-old, climbing trees was not an experience I would have relished but they came to my aid.  Good on you lads!”

PACT chair Elizabeth Heywood said it was great to see Westbourne House get involved in local activities.  She said: “Princes Avenue is a great place to live. We’re a lively, vibrant and diverse community and the wonderful thing about the Christmas Threes project is that it’s very inclusive. It’s given everyone a chance to be involved.  

“Businesses and traders are happy to be decked with garlands, while baubles have been made by #WeMadeThis crafters, local schoolchildren, members of the local WI (Apple Crumble & Stitch), refugees and asylum seekers at Open Doors, and at Westbourne House to name but a few. 

“This is a real, whole-community effort.  The trees and garlands look fantastic and for me it truly reflects the spirit of Christmas.”

Miranda van Rossum, Coordinator of We Made This, said: “It’s been great to see our Princes Ave & Pearson Park area team working closely with Love Prinny Ave, Artlink and Westbourne House for this edition of the Christmas trees.”

Integration and feeling part of the community is a vital part of moving forward for people who have suffered trauma, whether that be homelessness on the streets of Hull or in the camps of Turkey, Greece and France.  Avenues Action aims to support people who want to change their lives for the better by facilitating opportunities to get together.  

The tree trail is the second such collaboration between the group, members of PACT and Westbourne House.

In September, Westbourne House residents took part in the community clean-up of the cycle path that runs between Duesbery Street and Stepney Station, as part of preparations for the citywide environmental project Butterfly City.

As well as Christmas Threes and garlands, the annual PACT Switch-on of the Christmas lights at the Church on the Way took place on Saturday afternoon.  

Always a lovely, family occasion, this year the festivities included a very special performance of the charity chart-topper A Winter’s Dream. 

Jessika Mae, Oli Hatfield and children from Thoresby Primary School choir brought the house down with their rousing rendition of the song, sold in aid of Viking FM’s Cash for Kids Mission Christmas appeal.

Phil Niblett, pastor at the Church on the Way said: “It was a joy to be involved in sharing in this community occasion.”

Elizabeth Heywood added: “Princes Avenue not only boasts the most diverse range of top-quality eateries in the city, including award-winners The Greek and The Crooked Skewer, plus cool venues such as Pave, Union Mash-Up and Live Lounge, but is also blessed with a wonderful, warm-hearted community.

“Come and experience Prinny Ave this Christmas.  You can take a culinary world tour from South America to India via Europe and South East Asia as well as enjoying the unique atmosphere that comes from a busy street firmly rooted in community. Have yourself a Prinny little Christmas!”

[Elizabeth Heywood – PACT]