‘Anything’s possible!’ – Local who turned ‘grim’ alleyway into a bright social space

She may have retired from teaching five years ago, but Christine Sherburne has just delivered one of the most inspiring lessons of her life: that the biggest journeys start with a single step.

When Christine decided to brighten up the alleyway behind her Salford home a few years ago, she had no idea it would eventually turn into a focal point for the community – and lead to her organising a giant Jubilee celebration.

When she added some plants and home-made decorations, it prompted a huge and unexpected response from neighbours, who even brought furniture to the site.

“It was grim out the back, and I thought it was such a shame for the kids,” says Christine. “I filled empty paint pots with flowers and put a bench in the alley.

“Then the neighbours joined in – one revamped an unwanted Wendy house and even made benches from old futons!

“What began as some geraniums in plant pots ended up transforming a dumping ground into a bright social space for all generations to enjoy.”

Locals now regularly visit the space for “Pimm’s by the bins” gatherings and birthday parties.

Christine’s confidence to take on local projects was boosted in 2019 when she attended the Eden Project Community Camp, which is supported by The National Lottery.

“I came away feeling anything’s possible if you just try,” she says. “I wanted to show people how easy it is to make a massive difference.”

Last year, Christine used the alleyway to host a Big Lunch – an annual event that brings people together to share food, have fun and get to know each other. The Big Lunch is just one of the amazing projects made possible by National Lottery players, who raise over £30 million each week for good causes*.

This year, the event becomes The Big Jubilee Lunch, and forms part of the official celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

On June 3 Christine is organising a Big Jubilee Lunch in her street, outside the derelict youth club she has persuaded the council to turn into a community hub and cafe.

“We’re giving 70 free afternoon teas for 70 people – one for each year of the Queen’s reign.

“We’re having a hat competition, a bake-off and a book swap, and we’ve asked people to turn up in their best red, white and blue outfits.

“During the event we’ll also launch the plans for the community centre. We’re doing what we can with what we’ve got to create a bit of joy.”

To find out how your numbers make amazing happen, visit national-lottery.co.uk/jubilee-celebrations

*Based on figures from April 2020-March 2021.
Rules & Procedures apply. Players must be 18+.

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