Quality Street at Christmas: Yorkshire residents turn their homes into real life Quality Street

Meet the cheery residents of Britain's 'real-life' Quality Street.

The big-hearted locals have adorned their homes with giant replica chocolates in time for Christmas to raise money for charity.

Kayleigh Thomas, 35, first adorned her three-bed terrace with a chocolate-themed display last Christmas for fun.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But this year she has gone “bigger and better" by getting fifteen others living in Boyce Street in Sheffield involved.

L-R Sue Benson, Rebecca Notte, Richard Smith, Shamus Harkins, Kayleigh Thomas, Beryl Taff and Rebecka Lawson.

Residents in the quiet street decided to embrace the chocolate box theme after Kayleigh floated the idea to raise money for the local food bank in October.

She said the concept had since “snowballed”, with homeowners in an adjoining road choosing to festoon their properties with decorations matching the famous brand.

Kaleigh said she particularly loved the “originality” of her neighbours' displays, which included one person making a net curtain made out of the famous brand's chocolates.

Kayleigh said: “This year, it’s gone from a Quality Street house to an actual quality street.

L-R Richard Smith, Rebecca Notte, Sue Benson, Kayleigh Thomas, and other residents tuck into a tub of Quality Streets.

Read More

Read More
Omicron is milder strain of Covid, Government scientists reportedly set to confi...

“I just love the originality of it all, and I don’t think I could say I have a favourite because they’ve all taken the time to make their own creative displays, too.

“I felt I needed to go bigger and better this year, so that’s what I’ve tried to do, by putting more decorations on and by getting the neighbours involved.”

Kayleigh, who works at an international school, said she began decorating her home with displays after people across the nation placed rainbows in their windows in support of the NHS.

Boyce Street has been transformed into a 'quality street'

But as the festive season approached in 2020, she decided she needed something eye-catching that would fit the time of year and settled on the Quality Street theme.

She said: “I had sunflowers and all sorts of different things, depending on what time of year it is. When it got to Christmas, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to draw something in the window, I’d quite like to put lights outside.

“But I haven’t got a plug socket or anything that’s close enough to the front of the house to be able to do that – so I had to think on my feet, and I’d got a load of recycling.

“So I went to the local florist and bought some cellophane and just made a load of Christmas chocolate – but extra-large.”

Kayleigh said that the close-knit community on Boyce Street and Bransby Street had been raising money for their local food bank every few weeks.

And when she suggested that they collectively decorate their homes in a Quality Street theme as a way of getting more donations, they jumped at the idea.

Kayleigh said: “We’ve got a really good community on our street. We’ve been raising money for the food bank with a bake sale every couple of weeks.

“But in October, I said to my neighbours on our Whatsapp group, how do you feel about being a ‘quality street’ rather than just me having my Quality Street house? And they were like, ‘yeah, sure!’

Kayleigh said she had gone “all-out” on her display this year with a range of new giant sweety decorations, but said she was also extremely impressed with her neighbours’ efforts.

She said: “I love them all – some of them have made them themselves. I’ve made some of them and given them to them, and it’s just really lovely to see what they do with it.

“I’ve got a neighbour who's got a load of actual Quality Street and tied some cotton around them and made this sort of incredible net curtain of Quality Streets.

“Then people have made Christmas wreaths out of them – it’s really interesting. I just love the originality of it all.”

Last year, Kayleigh said Quality Street’s marketing team had presented her with a personalised tin of chocolates after they found out about her personal display.

But this year, owing to foodbank crisis and her fundraising efforts, she was hoping they’d give her a different type of gift, which could be shared with the community.

She said: “I have asked if they could send something for the food bank rather than me – because I really do not need any more Quality Street at this point.

“At the foodbank, times are really hard – not only for the people having to use the food bank but for the foodbank itself, because they’re having to open and close dependent on restrictions.

“They’re having trouble getting deliveries because of the lorry driver shortage. The donations just aren’t coming in and more and more people, are going to need to use it.

“So, I’d really like Quality Street to at least send me a tub that I can take down for the people that are working there as well.”

Much to their delight, Kayleigh and her neighbours have so far raised over £2000 for their local food bank, and are well on their way to their £2,500 target.

They have even set up an innovative “Quality Street Exchange”, where well wishes can receive chocolates for their food-based donations.

She said: “If people want to come and see the house, then they can bring a food donation for the food bank, and exchange that for a little bag of Quality Street.

“So, it’s a ‘Quality Street exchange’ – people have been so generous.”

Despite the impressive chocolate-themed displays that now cover most of the properties, Kayleigh said she wasn’t leading a campaign to change her road’s name to “Quality Street”.

She laughed: “I was thinking about it, but then I thought the neighbours would never forgive me if they all had to change their bank statements and their insurance and everything.”

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/qualitystreets6? to donate to the foodbank.