Residents of Britain’s ‘real-life Quality Street’ swap chocolates for foodbank donations

When Kayleigh Thomas was gifted a one-tonne pile of chocolate from Quality Street, she set about exchanging the treats for charity donations

Douglas Whitbread
Wednesday 14 December 2022 11:12 GMT

Big-hearted residents of Britain’s ‘real-life Quality Street’ have adorned their homes with huge sweet decorations to raise foodbank donations for those in need this Christmas.

At least 24 generous residents of Boyce and Bransby Street in Sheffield have decked their terraced homes with giant replicas from the iconic chocolate box brand.

Kayleigh Thomas, 36, first created a Quality Street-themed display at her three-bed property two years ago, before later getting her neighbours involved in the project.

But she said this year’s effort was “bigger and better”, and with ten more homes taking part, she believed they’d turned their “quality street” into a “quality community”.

Famed Yorkshire sweet brand Quality Street sent Kayleigh a free one-tonne pile of chocolate, which she’s been exchanging with locals for foodbank donations.

And she hoped that streets across her city might decorate their homes with the oversized chocolate decorations to raise further funds for charity.

Kayleigh said: “It’s gone from a quality street to a quality community that we hope to expand across the city. We have been trying to make it bigger and better than last year.

“There are lots doing different chocolates this year. There is a ‘green triangle’ house and the ‘purple one’ house. There are definitely more sweets on the street than last year.

“Quality Street sent one tonne of chocolate, which is really generous. I haven’t got room for a Christmas tree right now, so this is my only storage solution.

“People can turn up and take out the sweets from a drop box to make a donation. But I’m fond of the fudge, so people have got to be really lucky to find a box with them in.”

Kayleigh, who works at an international school, began decorating her terraced home in 2020, using cellophane from her florists to make the oversized chocolate boxes.

And the following year, her idea “snowballed” as residents across two adjoining streets teamed up to raise £3655 and pull in sacks of donations for S6 Foodbank, in Sheffield.

Kayleigh said they’d set up a committee to help more residents take part this Christmas and had even created a special sweet decoration workshop.

She said: “We started about a month ago. We ran a workshop at the food bank where people could come and make the decorations.”

“We made 170. They’re made from old fruit punnets. They’re then wrapped in tin foil with different coloured cellophane.

“My neighbours went down and took all the equipment, and about ten people helped them to make them. Other neighbours who couldn’t come down made their own.”

Kayleigh said it was tricky to choose a favourite from the homes that took part this year, but said one property, which had created a light-up display, had taken her fancy.

She said: “I really like that house’s big blue Christmas lights. We came out the first night and I was so excited to see it. That definitely has the wow factor.

“The ‘red’ house is also really beautiful. But everyone looks so different.

“It was very organized this time as we made a Google form so people could select their first and second preference, so we didn’t have two together with the same display.”

Kayleigh said she was using the one-tonne of chocolate that Quality Street gave her to exchange for food bank donations through a “drop box” system.

She said: “We have a drop box, and people can put things in that and take the chocolate out. Any chocolate that’s left will end up being donated to the food bank.

“But hopefully we will have so much food that we won’t have much Quality Street. Last year, I filled my car to the brim with what people brought.”

Kayleigh said she hoped more streets up and down Sheffield would kit their homes out with chocolate box decorations next year to raise money for people in need.

She added: “We had the idea to have different Quality Streets across the city so that an area has its own decorations for a food bank.”

A spokesperson from Quality Street’s owner Nestlé said: “Quality Street is made for sharing and we’re delighted to be sharing some of Halifax’s finest sweets with our neighbours over in Sheffield this Christmas.”

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