Be part of our unique, joyful community event: Lantern Parade 2023

5-7pm, 18 November 2023

Make your own lanterns to decorate your garden and street.
Watch the lanterns come past then join us in Marje Kelly Park at the end.
The parade will also collect donations for care-leavers at Christmas.

We start at 5pm at Gorse Hill Studios, and finish at 6pm at Marje Kelly Park, where light refreshments will be available.

Decorate your own street and garden!

Christmas gifts for young people leaving care

  • As the parade passes, we’ll collect Christmas gifts for young people moving out of care, to help them establish a new life. Bring something out for us if you can!
    • Good gifts include… pads and tampons; adult colouring books; mindfulness books; colouring pens and pencils; bamboo pads; sensitive body wash; body and skin care products for men; hair products suitable for Afro hair; diaries; canvases; and A5 or A4 notebooks.

Can you help make it happen?

The Lantern Parade is completely planned and run by local volunteers. Could you be part of it?

  • We need volunteers to deliver leaflets so everyone in Gorse Hill knows what’s happening. If you could spare half an hour to put leaflets through every door on your street, please email us and let us know what street(s) you could cover.
  • We also need volunteers to be part of the parade, carrying lanterns or stewarding. Again, email us if you’d like to be part of it.

Do you love the Parade and our other events?

You can support Gorgeous Gorse Hill by making a donation. Or if you’re a Co-op member, name us as your local cause, and you’ll support us every time you shop at the Co-op.

Find out how you can help here.

Get By with A Little Help From Our Friends

For any small volunteer-led community group the past two years have been a challenge, yet we still managed to do so much. We managed to maintain our lovely little planted areas, we had two Lantern Parades and supported the mutual aid effort in the area. We couldn’t have done this without some amazing support: from our Committee, from people who came to help us at our socially distanced planting sessions, to helpers at our lantern parade, amazing artists like Caroline Daly, Venessa Scott and Rob Evans, wonderful collaborators like Gorse Hill Studios, supportive councillors Laurence and Mike and people like Claire from Aldi who worked with colleagues to have plants donated that would otherwise have been thrown away. In addition, all the businesses and local people who donated prizes or presents and food to our last two Lantern Parades.

So as you can see, it really does take a village to achieve big things and in typical Gorgeous Gorse Hill style we’re not resting on our laurels; we’ve started our year off by tackling our five sites – Pocket Paradise, the Planters on Taylor’s Rd & Thomas St, our Avondale Rd (Incredible Edible style) Planters and our Lavender Planter by the Bishop Blaize – these alone could fill a year. Weeding, tidying, litter picking, planting, they are simple areas but bring great joy and in the case of the Avondale Planters fruit and vegetables that people can help themselves to.

But we’re not stopping there, along with Gorse Hill Studios and our exciting new partner: Roots and Shoots from Gorse Hill Allotments we’re holding a Spring Fair on the 14th May. There’ll be the usual cakes, drinks, books and plants for sale as well as fun activities for the kids and adults alike.

Then the cherry on the cake! The lantern parade will be back this year, we don’t have a date yet – we have to wait for our pesky neighbours to announce their 22/23 season home games, but we’ll be announcing it as soon as we can.

So, as you can see, we’ve done a lot and we have a lot planned. And this is where we come back to friends. We’ve never been able to achieve what we’ve done without help, although we’ve had a lot of help over the last two years it hasn’t really been enough. Volunteers have been a bit scarce, but, we’re sure that lots of residents are just waiting for the right opportunities so could you help:

Organise and deliver the lantern parade?

Help bake or staff a stall at the Spring Fair?

Help at one of our activity days planting, weeding and making our area more gorgeous?

Donate plants and bulbs?

Or possibly join our Committee to write funding bids, do social media or a whole raft of other things that often one or two of us struggle to fit in.

If you’d like to get involved sign up to our mailing list by emailing telling us how you’d like to help and we’ll get in touch.

Many of us joined Gorgeous Gorse Hill as strangers and we’ve now become good friends. We really do get by with a little help from our friends.

Let There Be Light

It’s not long to the second Gorse Hill Lantern Parade on the 20th November. We are currently working on our large lanterns, repairing the old ones, and creating some exciting new ones as well. We’ve been running workshops for people to make smaller ones so they can join in as well. We have two workshops on the day of the parade which are already fully booked.

But don’t worry you can still join in making lanterns at home to bring with you and join in, there’s a wealth of resources online to help you make your own.

Here are some to get you going.

Last year, friend of Gorgeous Gorse Hill Venessa Scott created two wonderful videos for making paper lanterns you can find them in this blog from last year: A Light in the Dark Places

In addition there are loads on YouTube to make all types, so here’s a few to help, if you want to make a wicker lantern you could try this one from the Eden Project which has useful info on how long it will take and what resources you need.

Or if you want something a little simpler you can make lanterns with jam jars and this great video on YouTube can help.

Whether you make a paper, wicker, or jam jar lantern they’ll all look great and will mean the parade will look even better.

See you on the 20th!

Gorgeous Gorse Hill needs your help at the Lantern Parade on Saturday 20th November, 4pm to 7pm.

Are you interested in joining us and helping to make the lantern parade a huge success?

We need helpers for the following roles:

  • Food and drink stalls – (4 people)
  • Raffle stall – (2 people)
  • Foodbank collection stall – (2 people)
  • Marshals in the park – (6 people)

If you can commit your time and energy to this magnificent event, contact us by email: by the 8th November.

Walking Gorse Hill’s Art Trail

How many times have you walked to Old Trafford tram stop and spotted the herons design on the BT box? Or seen the sunset scene on the BT box on your walk to Old Trafford? Well, I have walked past those boxes a lot over the years and never noticed the art; and I’m not the only one. We (human beings) tend to operate on automatic pilot a lot of the time, rushing ahead to the next task, caught up in thinking; we’re like walking heads!

So, one Tuesday evening in July I decided to follow the trail on Gorgeous Gorse Hill’s map. It was easy to follow, taking me along points on Chester Road mainly, directing me to look at art and nature on my door step.

Taking the time to stop and notice, I surprisingly started to notice more: the delight in Wayne Rooney’s face on the corner of Sir Matt Busby Way; reflected sunset in mirrored buildings; noisy Canada Geese flying overhead… I noticed more detail in the art: colours, shapes, and repetitive patterns. And as my walk went on, I noticed a shift towards appreciating and enjoying more the walk I was on. I must admit to usually focusing on the less attractive side to Gorse Hill: noise, traffic, fumes, concrete (what was that about autopilot!); much more interesting to balance that with art and nature.

Apparently all this ‘being present in the moment’ stuff is good for your mental health. It certainly was the case for me on my walk, but don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself, what do you notice?

Guerilla Sunflower Planting Day

One of my children’s favourite songs is a song called Sunflower by David Gibb.

“Hello and welcome to my garden green,

It’s good to have you on the team,

You’ll find that you’ll feel lighter,

When there’s a blue sky and the sun shines brighter,

Everyone round here leads such a busy life,

All they need are summery vibes,

That’s something I can provide,

Let me tell you why

I’m a sunflower, the tallest and the brightest flower of all. … ”

Saturday 1st May was International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day*. Scheduled on the 1st of May of every year, the day is an annual international event when guerrilla gardeners plant sunflowers in their neighbourhoods, typically in public places perceived to be neglected, such as tree pits, flower beds and roadside verges.

Gorse Hill residents and children brightened up our lovely neighbourhood by planting sunflower seeds in front gardens. For a few, where it was not possible to plant in front gardens, seeds were planted in public growing spots for everybody to enjoy watching them grown.

My children enjoyed picking the plumpest looking sunflower seeds and planting them, excited to anticipate which will thrive and grow to their full majestic height.

As summer approaches and there is the promise of more freedom, those large yellow happy sunflower heads may accompany us to what we hope will be a happier and sunnier future. It seems fitting, after all, as David Gibb sings, sunflowers are “the tallest and the brightest flower of all”. Perhaps next year, the event could expand to include other activities, such as Killing Japanese Knotweed With Diesel, to further enhance our neighborhood’s beauty and ecological health.

* Guerrilla gardening – Wikipedia

The Spirit of Our Neighbourhood

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Six years ago, a few people sat together and said: “well we should just stop moaning about it and do something”. That fateful statement led to the creation of Gorgeous Gorse Hill and we’ve just held our fifth AGM {AGM Notes} just under a month ago.

It’s been an incredible journey, not without its highs and lows. Who knew flowers and butterflies on roller shutters could be so controversial! But, that challenge has led to some of the positives, those of us who act as the group Committee have learnt so much on this journey, how to engage other residents, how to work with the Council and sometimes without them. The things we’ve achieved have ultimately led to an area with a clear identity; where many still don’t know where Gorse Hill is as soon as you mention the mosaic bollards or the Pocket Paradise they soon do. I’m proud that we’ve been able to give the area an identity beyond the place with all the take aways and where Manchester United is.

When we started all those years ago, I don’t think we imagined we would have spent our sixth year of existence working out how we could maintain our pocket parks during the middle of a pandemic – but we managed to do it.

I think what the last year has shown me is the tenacious nature of Gorse Hill residents, how many are willing to help others, whether that’s getting involved in the local mutual aid group and shopping for shielding residents, to sharing wood chip and manure on the allotments, to making the alleyways amazing – it’s all been done this year.

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At the heart of what we do, has always been how can we make Gorse Hill nicer for everyone, how can we brighten up someone’s day and make the mundane marvellous. That plays out in many ways: with 1000 snowdrops being planted at Ravenswood Rest Space, to pansies in tree pits, to sparkly bollards and art on substations or having a park renamed after a wonderful local resident – Marje Kelly.

It was this core mission that saw us planning a lantern parade in a pandemic; it is this that I look back on for our sixth year as showing who we are: as residents, neighbours and friends. We knew November was going to be tough – even more so as we ended up in a second lockdown – we knew we needed to bring some light in the darkness. And that’s what we did.

The past six years has been tough at times, but I look back with pride at all we’ve done as volunteers and marvel at my fellow volunteers. Whether they are regular committee members, people who come to volunteer on planting days, people who donated (generously) to the care leavers collection for Gorse Hill Studios or made lanterns and stood in their gardens and waved and applauded as we walked around Gorse Hill in November.

Six years feels a long time, but there’s so much more we can do – together. I feel with the Gorse Hill spirit – we can.

A Light in the Dark Places

As I write this, the clocks have just gone back; which means darker evenings for us all. Just as we enter Tier Three of Covid restrictions it feels even more challenging.

When we thought of what could replace our usual Winter Fair, we thought a Lantern Festival was a solution to the challenge of doing something that would be socially distanced. Now it feels even more important as it presents an opportunity to bring light where there is dark, hope where it may feel there is none and a connectivity when it may feel we’ll never be able to be connected physically again.

We’re excited to be working with the wonderful Caroline Daly and Venessa Scott again; as well as Gorse Hill Studios. And wow what a project we’ve got.

How to Get Involved

We’re asking residents of Gorse Hill to get involved, to tell their neighbours, to sign up their streets and on Saturday 21 November from 4.30pm to fill our streets with lanterns. During the week of 9th November, a leaflet will be dropping through letterboxes with two simple designs for lanterns so you can start making them at home. They’re really simple and you can start getting ready for then by saving glass jars, paper bags, tissue paper, making sure you have some sharp scissors and glue in. We recommend using battery-powered tealights which can be used again. As well as the leaflets Venessa has also made two great how-to videos.

You can watch them here, the first one is how to make paper-bag lanterns:

And the other video shows you how to make jam jar lanterns:

We’ll be posting regular updates and reminders on our Facebook page so do join to keep updated.

Help to Join In

We appreciate in these challenging times not everyone will be able to afford craft stuff to make lanterns, if you can’t don’t worry, we’ve got you. Get in touch and we’ll arrange for you to have access to the right supplies so you can still make lanterns.

A Parade

As well as residents filling the streets, we’re also working on something a bit special too. Caroline, Venessa and the talented staff at Gorse Hill Studios are making some large willow lanterns that will be paraded through the streets of Gorse Hill on the 21st November at 5pm. Now there are a lot of streets in Gorse Hill and we won’t be able to do all of them, so we’ll be prioritising streets that sign up to the Festival. Just drop us a message on Facebook or an email to: to let us know your street is signing up and you’ll get added to the parade route.


As if all this wonderfulness wasn’t enough during the parade, we’ll also be collecting items for Stretford Food Bank. We’ll be sharing what items are best on our Facebook page nearer the time.

So, what are you waiting for Gorse Hill. Let there be light!

There Is A Light That Will Never Go Out

Gorgeous Gorse Hill was set up as a hopeful project. A project that sought to make small positive changes in the local community which we hoped could lead to bigger things or just to put a smile on someone’s face.

2020 has proven a difficult year for hope. But it’s been there. In the small acts. In Gorse Hill we’ve seen it with the creation of mutual aid groups and with the wonderful alley transformations that are taking place.

As the year draws to its end the challenges we’ve experienced through 2020 are unlikely to ease; the nights will draw in and the weather will change. How can we mitigate these challenging times ahead? How can we as a community continue to support and show support to one another when we may not be able to see one another?

So, Gorgeous Gorse Hill had an idea, something to replace our cancelled Winter Fair. A Winter Lantern Festival – bringing light in the darkness, something everyone could join in, something to connect us all together in hope.

There’s going to be lots of things going on so that people can get involved:

  • We’re producing a “How-To” leaflet so you can make simple lanterns at home for you, your neighbours and street. There’ll be suitable for little ones to make to. Watch out for it dropping through your letter box in October.
  • We’ll be sharing a lantern making video on our website and social media channels so you can make and follow along with our local artists who are supporting the festival.

But there are things you can be doing now to be prepared:

Start washing and collecting glass jars.

Start collecting/sourcing battery tea lights.

Start saving and collecting clean paper bags.

All of these simple ingredients will be used in our lantern making lessons. The more you have the more lanterns you can make!

How wonderful will it be to see every street in Gorse Hill filled with light on the 21 November. We are also planning an exciting lantern parade with large scale lanterns we are making with our artists and Gorse Hill Studios – watch this space for more on that!

Excited! Hopeful! You should be – the more that get involved the better this will be. Start spreading the word with your friends and neighbours, everyone can join in. Keep checking our website or join our Facebook group for regular updates.

Can’t wait to get started, here’s a simple lantern making video you could do now, with easy to find materials at home.

Let’s make Gorse Hill fill with hope this Winter.