Young carers design Pyramid mural to celebrate town’s heritage
Children as young as eight who act as carers for their loved ones have seen their favourite images of Warrington’s heritage and culture spray-painted onto the side of one of the town’s most iconic buildings.
The youngsters meet regularly through Wired Young Carers for support and respite from their caring responsibilities and the sessions give them a chance to just “be kids” for a while.
About a dozen of these children, aged 8-15, have been channelling their creative energy into a new externally-funded project called Reflection of Warrington, a huge street art mural, to adorn the gable end wall of Pyramid arts centre at the corner of Museum Street and Winmarleigh Street.
Kat Lamey, young carer’s coordinator for Wired Young Carers, said the children were “really excited” about taking part in such a positive project which the whole town and its visitors will be able to enjoy.
She said: “The young carers involved had never taken part in anything like this before so were very excited about the project. They thoroughly enjoyed learning some of the more unusual facts about Warrington’s history.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity for them to be creative, learn new skills, make friends and work with a professional street artist.
“Young carers often take on responsibilities way beyond their years and can miss out on opportunities as a result, so to have their work displayed on such an eye-catching building in their home town will be an incredible achievement for this very special group of young people.
“It’s something they can be proud of.”
The young carers took part in workshops organised by the mural project co-ordinators Spearfish Arts, a company which produces and facilitates projects like this around the region, where they learned about the town’s history and came up with ideas on what they wanted the artwork to feature.
Then renowned illustrator Will Barras, recommended by Spearfish Arts’ organiser Andrew Casserley as “a well-respected and well-known artist”, designed the mural which is now taking shape at Pyramid.
Will added: “This is one of the biggest murals I’ve done and it’s quite a big responsibility so it’s great that it’s been driven by the young people of Warrington.
“Working with the young carers has been brilliant because they’re so enthusiastic; doing stuff like this all the time you can take it for granted but it’s not something they would usually get to do so I hope it’s given them something to be proud of.
“And hopefully the rest of Warrington will like it too!”
The group decided on a diverse mixture of images including iconic structures such as the Golden Gates and the Barley Mow, famous faces like Jonathan Blackburne, the Lord of the Manor of Warrington famous for growing the North West’s first pineapple at Orford Hall, and the Mad Hatter’s tea party scene from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Scenes illustrating the town’s industrial heritage will also be featured alongside a depiction of the ill-fated RMS Tayleur which was built in Warrington.
The mural started to take shape at the Culture Warrington venue on Wednesday 26 October and the young carers came along to help Will paint on Friday 28.
Culture Warrington’s outreach and engagement manager Derek Dick was pleased to see the project coming to fruition.
He said: “Reflection of Warrington has given the children from Wired Young Carers a chance to become directly involved in the heritage of their home town and seeing their contribution to the work on such an iconic Warrington building will no doubt boost their confidence and sense of pride in their own abilities.
“This is one of a series of projects which Culture Warrington has undergone with youth groups and young people to raise their understanding and knowledge of their local history and heritage.
“Another recent project involved working with the girls’ group from Warrington Youth Club who became the latest guest curators of Warrington Museum’s Cabinet of Curiosities.”
A planning application for installing the mural was approved by Warrington Borough Council at the end of September and Historic England had no objections in principle.
A spokesperson for Historic England said: “We welcome Culture Warrington’s plans for a heritage mural on the Grade II listed former county court, which is a key building in Warrington’s Palmyra Square.
“We are excited by the potential for the mural to better engage local people in their heritage and are looking forward to seeing the end result.”