Lancs PCC funding a community project
Artist Andrew Small has been commissioned by Clive Grunshaw’s Office, with the support of Blackpool based arts organisation LeftCoast, to deliver the project and create the artwork. The Commissioner and LeftCoast have worked with Lancashire Constabulary, local community group Mereside and Friends in Action (M.A.F.I.A.) and lead contractor Willmott Dixon to find the right artist for the project.
Members of the local community have taken part in workshops and had the opportunity to meet the artist to help shape what the piece of art will look like and to ensure that it is reflective of the area.
Taking part in a workshop at St. Monica’s church in Blackpool today, 8 September 2017, Mr Grunshaw said: “The new build has already provided plenty of opportunities for local businesses and created jobs for local people but I also want to ensure that the people who live in the area have an opportunity to get involved and make their mark on this project.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people getting involved and to see local officers and residents working together to create something that will become a part of the new building.
“The support from LeftCoast and M.A.F.I.A. in bringing the local community together has been great and demonstrates the interest local people take in the work of the police and the new building that will become part of the local landscape.
“The artwork will serve as a permanent reminder of local people and the police working together and reflect the communities our officers serve on a daily basis.”
Workshops with local children have already taken place at Mereside Boys and Girls Club and artist Andrew Small has spent time meeting local school teachers, residents and police officers to help shape his ideas for the artwork.
Andrew Small has already begun meeting people and has been really impressed by the pride the local community feel in the area, “I was told that working with the community as a whole around Mereside would be exciting and after meeting M.A.F.I.A. and some of the local children, I felt quite humbled by the commitment and generosity of volunteers across a very wide age ranges. People working passionately and selflessly for their community and leading by example. The artwork I aim to produce for the police station will be in some small way a reflection of this, something I feel that marks and constantly reminds all, of this notion of consideration for each other.”
Laura Jamieson, LeftCoast’s Creative Engagement Manager explained, “This is an exciting opportunity to create something innovative and unique that will become part of the fabric of the police station and the place. The overarching aim of this commission is to create a dialogue between the neighbouring community and the police who serve there, bringing the voice of the community into the new building.”
Sarah Threlfall, Chair of proactive community group, Mereside and Friends in Action said: “As a resident of Mereside and Chairperson of M.A.F.I.A. I would like the piece to replicate our values as individuals and also as a group who are proactive on the estate. The final piece will be recognition of our hard work and will make people see Mereside in a different light. We are proud of Mereside and want people to see us for who we are and what we represent, it will give us a part in the ownership within the new building where it will be housed.”
Insp Chris Hardy from Lancashire Constabulary said: “This project provides a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the existing links between Lancashire Constabulary, Mereside and the wider community.”