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New mural designed by young people expresses hope, belonging and a desire for change

Mural - 1

A striking new mural designed by young people has been unveiled at St Andrew’s Wharf Youth Hub.

The new mural was co-designed by young people through a series of workshops. It was created as part of a succession of community projects focussing on building a legacy of community safety, led by Tower Hamlets Island Community Network (THICN). The network, funded by Mayor of London My Ends programme, aims to reduce harm and violence for young people and the communities of the Isle of Dogs.

Streets of Growth, one of the THICN delivery partners, carried out research with the community to explore themes for the new artwork. Paint the Change, an artist’s collective who produce art for social action, held a workshop with young people inspiring them to express their emotions through drawing, colours and words that mean a lot to them. Sporting Foundation, a youth and community organisation who run regular activities from the youth hub, held an open event inviting young people and local residents to create drawings to express how they would like to see their community change.

Through the workshops, young people collaboratively chose key themes that they wanted the mural to represent:

  • the hope that violence in the area could be addressed
  • the desire for forgiveness in the community
  • and a sense of community belonging and generosity.

The mural also showcases the desire for change expressed by young people who live in the area - as they feel they are often blamed for urban violence.

Paint the Change was chosen to transform the drawings, ideas and phrases created in the workshops into a final mural design. Young people helped the artist, Matt Dufour, paint the final design so they could learn new skills and take full ownership of transforming the wall and their community.

On 1st June, the mural was launched at an event with the local community. Local police were invited to take questions from young people and residents at a community roundtable hosted by The People Speak before the mural was unveiled.

James Thomas, Corporate Director of Children and Culture at Tower Hamlets council, said: “The new mural at St Andrew’s Wharf Youth depicts the creativity and talent of the young people in our borough. Opportunities like this empower young people to share their voices on important issues such as youth violence in a positive way, whilst enhancing a space with beautiful new artwork.”

Anisa, young person, said: “The workshop was fun, as it was a chance to not only be creative in an informal way, but the start to make change or influence others in the community as a team and have a voice as young people. This might also help other areas with ideas on what they may be able to do as well. Also, it makes certain areas approachable if there are stereotypes.”

With thanks to the project partners: Tower Hamlets Island Community Network (THICN), Streets of Growth, Sporting Foundation, Osmani Trust, Spotlight, Paint the Change, Tower Hamlets Young People’s Services, and Councillor Mufeedah Bustin.

Watch the video here.

Posted on Friday 10th June 2022