In the run up to London 2012, a set of Olympic-themed murals are brightening up Hackney’s Kingsmead neighbourhood and helping to reduce antisocial behaviour at the same time.

Kingsmead residents

With the support of Sanctuary Housing the Creative Community Kingsmead Murals project has brought together locals of all ages to transform four walkways on the Kingsmead estate. The eight murals have been designed and created by the residents themselves, using paint from both Community RePaint Hackney and East London at a series of painting days.

With each mural linked to the Olympic values – respect, excellence, friendship, courage, determination, inspiration and equality – the project aims to have a lasting impact on local community.

To celebrate the official opening of the murals, the ‘artists’ came together for an afternoon of games and music, run by project sponsor Sanctuary Housing in partnership with environmental education charity ecoACTIVE – which delivered the workshops.

The opening gave residents the chance to tour the murals and see the fruits of their labour, against the backdrop of the Kingsmead Primary School drumming band.

Local resident, Saada Omar, said: “This project has been a great idea and has involved everyone right from the start. The kids loved the painting days and are now very proud of the finished murals – every time we go past, they shout to anyone who can hear that they painted them.”

Designs for each of the murals were developed during a series of creative workshops, which took place throughout July. Led by local artist, Ryan Durrant, and writer Penny Cliff, residents came together with Kingsmead school children and members of the Adventure Playground, to brainstorm design ideas.

London artist Ryan brought the ideas to life with the final designs, before working with residents on the all-important painting days. Co-ordinated by Hackney-based ecoACTIVE, the murals were then created using recycled paints which were mixed and blended to create the final colours.

Sanctuary’s regional director, Stephanie Killer, said: “These murals are a triumph of a community initiative, which has brought residents of all ages together.

“The key to the project was to ensure residents could take ownership of the murals’ creation. Not only does the new artwork enhance the local environment, but it will leave a lasting legacy on the estate.“

The project was sponsored by Sanctuary Housing, with additional funding from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Unit at Hackney Council.

The Creative Community Kingsmead Murals project has been supported by local partners Kingsmead Primary School, Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground, Forever Young Over 50s group and Good Companions Over 50s group. Workshop materials were provided by Community RePaint schemes for Hackney and East London and also Topcoat Construction in Leyton. Refreshments on the day were kindly provided by Tesco in Morning Lane.

The project builds on the work already carried out in Hackney through the Big Blue Fence project, also sponsored by Sanctuary.

Published 2 Nov 11 on

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