THE windows of homes in Eastcott and Old Town were transformed into a magical night-time art gallery.

More than 130 people took part in creating the first ever Window Wanderland in Swindon, lighting up the streets with displays of creativity, with themes including Harry Potter and Aladdin.

The concept originally came from Bristol and was brought to Swindon by Eastcott Community Organisation, with the help of a £6,500 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Group chairman Caroline Davie-Khan, said: “We’ve been working on the project for about six or seven months.

“We just really loved the idea because a lot of what we do here understandably focuses around the community centre, but this was something quite new because it enabled things happen in the streets around the centre and because we exist to increase opportunity for people.”

She explained the first approach came from Eastcott resident Helen Ganberg in January last year to talk about working together on a project.

Trustee Laura Holmes added: “It is a nice creative way to getting people together and it is open to all ages. I think it just showed how many artistic people there are around, and people just have fun being creative.”

To make the exhibition more inclusive, the group used the grant to set up workshops.

Events coordinator, Anish Harrison, said: “We wanted the event to be as inclusive as possible, so we organised workshops to help people feel confident in their artwork. We also ask artists to join us. Something wonderful about WW is that we don’t have to be fantastic at arts because that can be a barrier for some people.”

Out of the 134 window makers involved in the exhibition over Saturday and Sunday evenings, more than 110 were local residents in their homes, four schools were also involved as well as about six businesses.

“It’s just been a very positive project, that’s got a lot of people involved,” said Caroline.

Mayor of Swindon Junab Ali, who was at the launch, said: “It’s a fantastic idea, this is just bringing the whole community of the area together. In some places, neighbours don’t talk to neighbours and there is no activity in the community, so this event is fantastic.

“We need more of this kind of things in our community to bring all the people together.

"This will give energy to other activities and to showcase what Swindon has to offer so this is a brilliant way to start it off. this could lead to a bigger event for whole of the town rather than just this area.

“I’d just like to congratulate all the committee members because they are the awesome heroes, because things like that do not happen out of a vacuum.”

Committee member Anna Smart added: “It was amazingly popular so there’s a good chance that we organise it next year.”

The show is on again tonight between 6pm and 9pm. See our earlier story for details of where the windows are.