One year after going into lockdown Gorrell councillors have unveiled a COVID mural improve the local environment and help children reflect on lockdown and what it meant to them.
The mural was commissioned by Councillor Chris Cornell who work led a community fundraising effort to raise over £1000 and commission on a disused building at Westmeads Community Infant School. The building faces out onto Stream Walk, a popular footpath through town and was until recently just covered in graffiti tags. The children at the school were asked to submit designs for the work, reflecting on their year in lockdown and what it had meant to them.
The final work shows a young girl blowing bubbles. In each of the bubbles is the shimmer of a raibow and a scene suggested by the children. The scenes show homeschooling, clap for carers, a family playing on the beach and a child using his imagination as he pretends to be an airline pilot.
Morag Warren, Chair of Whitstable Labour Party and a mum at the school said ‘We love it! The art has really brightened up our walk to school and Flora loves looking at the bubbles and remembering her own lockdown fun.
The work was carried out by local artist Sam Giles who was praised by Kate Gowing, Acting Head of Westmeads, “It looks amazing. I love that Sam took the ideas of the kids but moved it on, in a subtle way! The family connection and the very important inclusion of play are both key elements of the lockdowns”.
“This year has shown how our community can come together in a crisis” said Councillor Chris Cornell .”One year on from lockdown I felt it was important to mark what a difficult year it had been and the challenges we have overcome. Seeing lockdown through the eyes of children puts much of it into perspective.”
“Grafitti in this area has long been a problem. It is nice to find such an uplifting solution.” In 2020 Labour councillors fought unsuccessfully to see graffiti permission walls set up across the district but did see the council agree to a policy statement which would allow commissioned walls to improve problem areas.