On The High Street Project by Designs in Mind
14th May 2016
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‘On the High Street’ is a project that aims to bring vitality and interest to a key shopping area of Oswestry and has just been awarded funds through the Big Lottery Fund- Awards For All.

Cross Street in Oswestry is a ‘clone’ of many high streets, with standardised shop fronts, cluttered with street signs and ‘SALE’ signs. It has been described as ‘a bleak corridor that you have to walk down to get to the ‘good’ bits of town’. Cross Street is not in-keeping with the wider personality of the town.

Hidden along this corridor, on Cross Street, are two Community Interest Companies working with diverse and vulnerable groups within the community. Both these groups have got ideas to share about the town in which they live and want to make a positive contribution by giving significance to an uninspiring space.

Members of Designs in Mind are adults referred through mental health services and they will work together with grandparents, parents and children aged 0-5 years who visit and access the services at Baby Bird CafeÌ, providing a space for families to meet, play and learn.

Together we will design and make structural and sculptural changes to a local community facility. This will include a mosaic path entrance and a flock of birds flying up the front of Baby Bird CafeÌ.

Members of Designs in Mind say they constantly struggle to find ways to engage with life in their local communities and often feel isolated due to irrational and distorted views of mental health. Isolation is also a common theme for many new mums and parents.

Members of Designs in Mind and users of Baby Bird CafeÌ completed a survey throughout September 2015 to get ideas to transform the front of building at Baby Bird CafeÌ. Words that were used to describe it currently were- ‘bland, plain and simple’. When asked for ideas of how we could add ‘colour and energy’ suggestions included- stained windows, flying birds, murals, mosaic entrance. General feedback was to ensure tasteful, but appealing to children, and a huge response to make it more vibrant and inspiring.

'On The High Street' enables participants to take a fresh look at the town and improve perceptions from local people and those who come to visit. It gives significance to an otherwise uninspiring space and expresses a range of feelings or ideas from the people involved.

A programme of open workshops for people to contribute to the design process is due to be announced soon. We are also looking to involve some local nurseries and primary schools, and we would like teachers to get in touch if they are interested.

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.

For more information please contact: Catherine Wilks Designs in Mind catherine@designsinmind.co.uk 01691 655 140 17a Cross Street, Oswestry, SY11 2NF

About the Author

John W

Member since: 10th July 2012

A quick introduction - I'm John Waine, Director of TheBestOfOswestry. Having lived in this beautiful area for around 20 years now, I have decided to stay. :)

With kind thanks

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