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Smithdown in Bloom launches to brighten the area with flowers and art

1 year ago

Smithdown in Bloom launches to brighten the area with flowers and art

Neighbours around Smithdown Road are coming together to launch Smithdown In Bloom to brighten up the area with flowers and artwork.

It will create a trail of floral planters along the length of the road, and add art to the exteriors of shops and walls to try and deter graffiti.

It’s hoped that the project will show local pride in the area – and encourage everyone to treat it with the same amount of care.

Ian Skillicorn, one of the residents behind Smithdown In Bloom, says the idea is to get all ages involved in a collective effort.

Ian, who also organises the annual Smithdown Litfest bringing author events to the area, says it’s about ultimately making it a nicer place to live, shop and work.

He explains: “Through Litfest, I got talking to other people who live around here and we were saying that it’s such a great place but we do also have problems sometimes with things like graffiti and litter.

“We wanted something which would bring us together to demonstrate that we have got a pride in our community and we want other people to be proud of it and look after it too. There’s already an Allerton in Bloom so it made sense to just continue it further down the road.

“When somewhere looks brighter it just lifts your spirits and it’s an immediate message that says, ‘this is a place that we respect and we want you to as well’. I think unless you proactively do something to show that then that message doesn’t always get through.”

With the support of their long-standing councillor Lawrence Brown, the group was able to get funding through the Mayoral Neighbourhood Fund to apply to host an In Bloom project. The application was successful and volunteers have already been busy installing the first two planters at the crossing near Ullet Road. 

The first phase will start from that junction and run down as far as Asda. There are also plans to invite artists to get involved in painting shop shutters and walls. 

“Most of the planters will be on the corner of streets that lead on to Smithdown Road, and our hope is that as each planter goes in it will be the people in that particular street who will volunteer to take care of it, and be there to look after it, weed it and check it’s OK going forward,” says Ian.

“It won’t happen all at once because it’s going to take a lot of money and we have to fundraise it ourselves doing anything and everything we can. We’ve started with two planters, just to give people an idea of what we’re trying to achieve, and then as we raise more money we’ll be going out from there, putting them on each corner. 

“We’re now saying to people, let us know if you’re interested and if you want to get involved in the fundraising, so you can get your planter more quickly, then you can do that.” 

Fundraising will start properly on Saturday when ex-Brookie star and environmental champion Simon O’Brien officially launches Smithdown In Bloom at Greenbank Primary School from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

There’ll be a chance to find out more about the project, a sale of plants, seeds and books and a raffle that’s been well supported by local residents and businesses. An exhibition of Smithdown In Bloom artwork done by pupils from the school will also be on display.

READ 10 reasons why you should visit Smithdown Road HERE.

Simthdown in bloom

“Smithdown In Bloom is really going to be a project for the community, by the community,” adds Ian, “and we’re going to take it on ourselves from this point forward, raise the money we need and be responsible for it.

“We’ve already got a core of 10/15 people meeting once a week and working really well together, and it’s a really broad mix of ages from people who’ve lived here for 40 years to people like me who’ve lived here for seven years.

“We all care about where we live, love where we live and lots of people are out on their own anyway doing litter picks so it’s about linking all the people who are doing individual things together so we can achieve more.”

Find out more about Smithdown in Bloom here.



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