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A Window into Abbeyfield

Move over Selfridge’s, there’s a new window display getting noticed this Christmas!

Halcyon House, a residential care home in Formby, have given their windows a makeover to reflect the spirit of the festive season, with a touching story about a woman who recently lost her husband.

The house’s windows were painted by Liam Brown. Liam started working for Halcyon House as a carer to help fund his university studies, and then assumed an administrative role during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is studied illustration at university, and now likes to take on freelance jobs to help build his portfolio whilst continuing to work for Halcyon House.

Halcyon House is part of The Abbeyfield Society, which leads the worldwide Abbeyfield Family of over 370 care homes, sheltered housing schemes and independent living complexes that are home to more than 8,000 older people. The Society’s mission is to alleviate loneliness that many older people experience. Their unique model of retirement living provides the opportunity for new friendships to develop through the provision of communal living spaces, shared mealtimes and a varied schedule of social activities, while residents are encouraged to maintain their connections with their local community.

Liam explains, “We hold regular staff team meetings every week, and we often reflect on what we feel are the most important things about Abbeyfield – our warmth, our compassion, and a place where people can find companionship in later life.

“The story of the illustration is of a grandmother who has recently lost her husband. She is sad and lonely, but her young grandson comes up with a plan to cheer her up – he builds a snowman that looks just like his grandfather. The woman is so happy with what her little grandson had done for her and it cheers her up in time for Christmas.”

Liam painted across the windows of Halcyon House’s dining room, where residents spend their mealtimes together, with each window telling part of the story. The windows can be seen by passers-by making their way to and from the playing fields close to the house, and they soon attracted quite a crowd of onlookers who stopped to watch Liam at work and to follow his story.

Abbeyfield houses and homes have been encouraged to decorate their windows and doorways for the festive season, in order to provide ‘A Window into Abbeyfield at Christmas’ for the local neighbourhood, and Abbeyfield is sharing the photos across its social media channels using the hashtag #WindowIntoAbbeyfield – which can also be seen on one of Liam’s windows.

Word of Liam’s talent has spread far and wide and he has had offers of further work. The manager of a nursey as far afield as Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, asked if he would create something similar for the nursery to inspire the children – what a compliment!