High streets play a crucial role within local communities and are a key public space – home to local shops, residential dwellings, businesses and facilities. They are a place for communities to connect and collaborate and it’s important to recognise everyone’s role in keeping these spaces clean and appealing for all.

Following damage to a charity bookshop window on Southend-on-Sea’s high street, mural artist and illustrator, Freya Neighbour, was asked to bring the window back to life. Freya was commissioned to create a large mural inspired by books and reading to cover the boarding hiding the broken window.

Explaining the design, Freya said:

“The bookshop has a huge selection of titles, and I wanted to reflect the escapism that comes from reading a good book. Especially in these times with the cost-of-living crisis, finding free things to do for fun is becoming more and more necessary. Reading can give you some relief from the every day and transport you somewhere else for a while. It’s a regenerative, healthy activity and can be a vital part of self-care, so nurturing the skill of reading in childhood is important.”

Being environmentally conscious, Freya knew she wanted the paint she used to be as kind to the environment as possible – enter Community RePaint Cambridgeshire.

As part of our national paint reuse network, Community RePaint Cambridgeshire was able to offer Freya usable leftover paint starting from £2 a litre. This included full and part-full tins of leftover paint, perfect for the mural.

Community RePaint Cambridgeshire joined the network in 2011 and is now one of the largest schemes in the network. Run by Cambridgeshire Community Reuse and Recycling Network (CCORN), they collect around 62,000 litres of paint each year. They are also one of our two remanufacturing centres, producing ReColour remanufactured paint.


As Freya painted the mural, children walking past with their parents would become interested and wander over, talking to Freya about what she was painting, and so Freya decided to include them in the process.

Freya let us know:

“All the stories and characters featured in the mural are based on suggestions given by locals, both adults and children. I love that anyone walking past who met me as I painted can now see themselves reflected in the painting. I truly believe that art lifts spaces up and creates an impression of love, care, and community wherever it flourishes – thank you very much to the Fishers of Men charity bookshop for this opportunity to brighten up the highstreet!”

When asked about using Community RePaint for the mural, this is what Freya had to say:

“I continue to use Community RePaint for all my mural projects, an incredible scheme sponsored by Dulux, that takes donated leftover paint and offers it at a highly discounted price to the public and community projects. The quality is amazing and I love that I can look after the planet through my murals.”

You can find more of Freya’s work on her Instagram and Facebook page, as well as her website.

Click here to find out about a mural Frey created earlier on in the year to brighten up a care home in Norwich.

Community RePaint has over 65 schemes across the country, providing paint starting from £1 a litre. If you need paint for your home, community project, or a mural like this one, find your nearest scheme here.

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