The Dale Road Star Trail is launching today, to coincide with Blue Monday, the day which has been dubbed the most depressing day of the year.
The original idea came from Derbyshire company Paper Starlights, when they donated a star installation to Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield, to say thank you to keyworkers in the first lockdown.
Since then, the ‘Share the Light’ initiative has spiralled, with more than 50 businesses and more than 500 homes in the area displaying stars in their windows to share a message of hope with each other and with passers-by.
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Now Dale Road is developing its own trail, initially with 15 businesses displaying a star lantern to light a trail between the core hours of 2pm and 9pm.
Businesses on the street have collaborated on a number of activities including displaying Campaign Shop Independent stickers to draw attention to the special character of the road, collaborating on a Living Advent activity at Christmas and now launching the lantern star trail.
Emma Scott, 44, from M’s of Matlock, said: “January can be a bleak month at the best of times, never mind in a pandemic. I love the lanterns in Chesterfield and thought it would be a great thing for Dale Road businesses to do, just to bring a bit of light at what is quite a dark time.
"The first stage is starting the trail, we hope other businesses will join us and hopefully people living along the road too. This could just be the beginning though, we hope this starts in Dale Road but that all of Matlock wants to ‘Share the Light’ as the weeks go on.”
Andy Jupp of Paper Starlights, said: “It is amazing what the businesses on Dale Road are doing. We’re so proud to be based in Derbyshire and to be a part of such a vibrant community of indie businesses – and can’t wait for the day when we can all welcome local people and visitors alike back to our villages, towns and markets.
"Dale Road is such a special place, full of wonderful businesses all working so hard to get through these strange times. This is something which is coming straight from the community which says ‘we might be locked down, but we’re not knocked down’, and that is a powerful thing.”
Anyone can also get involved and support the initiative by walking the star trail, taking pictures and using the #Sharethelight hashtag on social media to raise awareness and interest.
Jules Cooper of Paper Starlights said: “People can support the star trail and small businesses by simply sharing social media content with friends and leaving an encouraging message to show local businesses they’re not alone at this time.
“We have started the #Sharethelight hashtag to help local people amplify the efforts of independent businesses and to join the initiative themselves.
"That way we can help keep independent business and community strong, and retain the uniqueness that a place like Dale Road, and Matlock more widely, is so lucky to have.”
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