Children turn rags to riches for creative ‘trashion’ show

Oxford Mail: Eight-year-old Jerrid Gamage works on the mural. Inset: Artist Lizzy McBain with Bella Skaer, six Eight-year-old Jerrid Gamage works on the mural. Inset: Artist Lizzy McBain with Bella Skaer, six

A SUMMER full of colourful activities at South Oxford Adventure Playground (SOAP) will culminate with a multimedia art exhibition made by children.

A “trashion” show, with clothes made of rubbish, will parade to a soundtrack of children playing homemade instruments at the show on Saturday, July 12.

And a colourful new mural painted by children, to be put up around the walls of the park off Whitehouse Road, Grandpont, will be unveiled.

All the activities have been made possible thanks to £10,000 from the National Lottery’s For All fund.

Trustee Megan Douthwaite, who lives in Newton Road, said: “They have had some really great fun, it has been very positive.”

She said after a workshop making things out of old factory pipes and parts, “kids were coming up to me saying they have had the best day of their lives. Because it’s in this big playground it naturally builds on itself.

“SOAP is very inclusive, we have kids from all sorts of backgrounds and it’s free, which makes it so children can enjoy activities they wouldn’t normally be able to.

“They can also build their self esteem and make new friends.”

In February, children made their own musical instruments out of an old bicycle, plumbing pipes and hammered tin can lids.

They then took their instruments inside and recorded a soundtrack to go with the “trashion” show, for which youngsters made rags into riches in May.

On Friday, young painters started work on a mural on four 6ft by 4ft wooden boards which will be hung around the park.

SOAP hired freelance artist Lizzy McBain, from Iffley, to run mural painting workshops for five weeks.

She said: “It was good, we were just starting so it took a little while to build, but once the children could see colour on the board they were really into it. It was a hot day so children were painting for half an hour, then running off to play.”

The patch of green hidden behind Whitehouse Road has been a playground for children since the 1970s, but run by a committee of locals since the 1990s.

Until last year, the park only opened during holidays.

Ms Douthwaite was part of a group of South Oxford parents who raised £1,200 to start a fund enabling the park to open every day after school.

The trustees who manage the park now employ 10 part-time play workers with disability training to keep an eye on things.

The park opens every weekday from 3.15pm to 5.15pm.

Find out more at soapoxford.org.uk

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