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Local pupils artwork unveiled at Gorse Ride

Local pupils' artwork unveiled at Gorse Ride

27 February 2023
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Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Caroline Smith and executive member for housing Cllr Stephen Conway attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil artwork produced by local children and their families at the council’s flagship regeneration scheme at Gorse Ride in Finchampstead on 21 February 2023.


The event was also attended by representatives from the council and appointed contractor Wates, vicechair of the Gorse Ride steering group Matt Sales, local families from the regeneration area and pupils and their parents from Nine Mile Ride School and Gorse Ride Schools.


As part of an initiative to bring the local community together, the council and Wates organised art sessions for children in the local area to take part in which included an autumnal themed artwork and drawing self-portraits. The artworks are mounted on hoarding (boarded fence) around the construction site and will be in-situ for the duration of Phase 2A of the regeneration, transforming the community into a place local people can be proud to live, work, grow and study.


Borough Mayor Cllr Caroline Smith said: “The children have worked hard to produce these wonderful artworks and I am delighted to unveil this project at Gorse Ride. This is one of many projects the council has run with the local community for the Gorse Ride regeneration scheme, helping to include residents and spark their imaginations. I have enjoyed meeting and speaking to our young, local artists and their families at the unveiling.”


Executive member for housing Cllr Stephen Conway said: “It is fantastic to see local children attending the artwork unveiling, having fun, getting creative and most importantly, feeling involved in our regeneration project at Gorse Ride.


“For many local families, the Gorse Ride community is their home and will continue to be as the phased regeneration takes place over many years, providing 249 new modern homes where 75 per cent of them will be affordable to meet growing local demand. The displaying of the artwork enhances our vision to engage and involve our communities through arts and culture, creating a sense of identity which local people can feel part of.”


Lee Bushell, Regional Director of Wates Residential said: “Wates is committed to regeneration that benefits the local community, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Gorse Ride’s local schools in this initiative, which will brighten the site throughout the project.”


The council is continuing to work closely with the local community throughout the second phase of the regeneration to ensure residents are relocated smoothly and the delivery of new homes are delivered with as little disruption as possible.


Autumnal themed artwork


The session took place during the October half-term at St Mary and St John’s Parish Centre in Finchampstead. The children created a range of artwork which included tracing around their hands on coloured paper and writing their names and sticking paper leaves onto hedgehog shapes.


As part of the redevelopment, the council must ensure the welfare of hedgehogs found on site and advises residents living on the Gorse Ride estate to get in touch to ensure hedgehogs are moved safely and relocated by a local hedgehog rescue centre. Five artificial hedgehog nesting boxes will be provided on site and hedgehog highways, a cut-out at the bottom of garden fences, will be installed to allow hedgehogs to freely visit other gardens.


During the sessions, the autumnal themed artwork was collected and arranged onto a two-metre-tall paper tree. Wates sourced a weather-proof, Perspex display frame to frame the artwork.


Self-portrait artwork


Children from nursery to year six from Gorse Ride Schools and pupils aged five to 11 years old from Nine Mile School took part by drawing and colouring in their self-portraits and writing their names and ages. Some of the children illustrated their portraits with sports activities such as footballs, tennis rackets and swimming, and other drawings of flowers, the sun, clouds and balloons. 

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