Faded mural gets a new lease of life

Faded mural gets a new lease of life

Alfie Raven, front left, Lucas Koci, front centre, and Charmarli Jackson, front right, with fellow artists

The mural before work started

The mural afterwards

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

CHILDREN spray painting on walls is not usually cause for celebration, but it has given the Blackbird Leys Community Centre an impressive mural.

In a collaboration between the Leys CDI youth project and the Early Intervention Service, a mural that had been fading away for more than 15 years has been replaced.

Street art tutors from Crushproof helped dozens of youngsters get involved with designing the new mural.

Marsha Jackson, youth project development manager at CDI, said: “The old mural was about 15 years old and looked faded and tired. We felt it deserved a new lease of life.

“We have worked with Crushproof before when we decorated our hall so we knew they would be able to help us create something really special.”

The new design mimics the metal statue outside the centre, depicting the estate as a tree.

Each of the six organisations that use the Blackbird Leys Road community centre – Leys CDI, Early Intervention Centre, Oxford City Council, Home Start, Blackbird Leys Credit Union and Sound Works – are represented as apples on the tree.

Miss Jackson said: “We wanted to include and represent all of the different groups that use the building and bring them all together.

“It looks amazing.”

It became one of the projects that Leys CDI hosted in its summer scheme, which saw hundreds of children from the estate taking part in different activities to keep them entertained through the holidays.

More than 30 children aged between nine and 13 spent two days designing the mural and a day and a half painting it.

Lucas Koci was one of the youngsters who got to help design the mural. The nine-year-old said: “It’s a tree and I drew my name and the word CDI in the design. Afterwards I did some spray painting which was really fun. I’ve done it before at summer schemes.”

The project was partially funded by the communities and neighbourhoods team at Oxford City Council.

Scott Seamons, city councillor for the area, said: “The original mural on this part of the communitycentre was due a refresh and doing so has allowed young people living on the Leys today to get involved.

“They have created something which reflects our thriving community and just some of the talents of our young people.”

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