Residents’ art project to influence design of their new home

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Foundry Wharf Parr Mount Court Arts Project 2
Left to right: John McKenna, The St Helens Housing Association Trust Trustee, Jean Cunnington, Parrmount Court resident and member of the art project, Eileen Lawrenson, The St Helens Housing Association Trust Trustee, Marc Traynor, Member of the Local Men’s Group

Residents of Parrmount Court in Parr, St Helens, have spent three months working Chris Charles of Creative Arena on a history, photography and arts project looking at the history of St Helens, focusing on how industry and the people have shaped their home town.

The project is ahead of the resident’s move to Foundry Wharf, a new £13m purpose-built independent living development in nearby Fingerpost. The flag ship scheme for over 55s from North West housing group Torus is nearing completion and the art project has heavily influenced the furniture and décor of the residents’ new home.

Glass and industry were a clear theme throughout the project. The residents worked with a local men’s group and attended local history sessions with Chris Coffee, a local historian, and Victoria Brokenshire from St Helens Archives Department.  Part of the project encouraged the residents to visit local places of historical interest and snap photos of their visits.  At Heart of Glass, they watched a bespoke bowl and swan being made which will be displayed in the new build.

Residents are due to move in 2020, and project member and resident, Jean Cunningham said; “Seeing the work we created being used for the decoration for the new scheme is going to be fantastic and I am looking forward to moving into our new home and settling in.”

Sarah Houghton-Grimshaw, Torus Supported Housing Commissioning Manager; said “The work the residents have created is amazing, it really reflects the local area and their memories.  It’s exciting to be able to use their works as the basis of the design of Foundry Wharf.

The colours have been themed for each floor and area, which will allow residents with orientation and the photos will allow them to enjoy memories from the past and share their history and stories with their families.”

The arts project was funded by The St Helens Housing Association Trust which give grants to social housing providers for the benefit of tenants and residents, who are elderly and live in the St Helens area.

Going forward, the residents will be working with a local artist, Bernie Hughes on a lightbox installation piece for their new reception area.

Foundry Wharf is one of three new schemes due to be completed in 2020 in Torus’ three heartlands of St Helens, Warrington and Liverpool.

Sarah, added: “With an ageing population we are keen to be able to offer fantastic independent living, offering people suitable, affordable accommodation along with support to older and vulnerable people if and when they need it.

Foundry Wharf, along with our other specialist housing for the over 55s are about creating communities where older people can enjoy sociable, fulfilling and healthy lives.”

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