PARTIALLY-sighted and blind children and young people helped to create a colourful mural at Huddersfield Sports Centre.
Members of multi-sports group the Huddersfield Actionnaires – run by national charity Action for Blind People – got creative with recycled emulsion paint, brightening up a corridor between the climbing wall and the squash courts.
They were among many other sports centre users to attend a community art day organised by Huddersfield artists Dave and Emily Cowan, Carlos Flowerday and Jenny Parkin along with Kirklees Active Leisure.
The 30ft long display was created with unwanted paint from left-over home decorating and has been named The Butterfly Wall.
The Actionnaires, who meet on Saturdays at the sports centre, all have different levels of vision and set to work at painting in their own ways. Twelve-year-old Mehreen – a keen rock climber who has no sight at all – asked for red paint and then made her contribution by touch.
Ian Spencer, sports development officer for Action for Blind People, said: “The Actionnaires is all about enabling blind and partially-sighted young people to take part in new activities and this was a great opportunity to be involved in an exciting project that will leave a lasting display.”
The aim of the project, which started with the artists painting a pillar in totem pole colours, is to celebrate the sports centre in its final years and encourage users to think about what this important building means to them.
Seven-year-old Kamau McAllum from Fartown was joined by his mum, Jackie, who remembers the Queen visiting the sports centre.
She said: “It was a really sunny day and everyone in the flats and in the Inland Revenue building were looking down on events in the street below from their open windows.”
Other people shared stories of learning to swim, of being impressed with the “futuristic” facility when it first opened and the joys of trampolining.
A photo exhibition of users and their memories may follow.
Artist Jenny, of Slaithwaite, who is studying fine art part-time at Leeds College of Art and Design, said: “The sports centre is lined with plain bricks inside and out which can look a bit drab. We decided to brighten up one corner of the building.
“We were thrilled at the enthusiasm and creativity of the Actionnaires who gave up a sunny Saturday. It’s called The Butterfly Wall because a couple of people said they could see a butterfly in it and the name suits the shimmery colours as you view the work from one end.”
The Butterfly Wall is next to The Meeting Place, a pillar painted in traditional totem pole colours by the artists in February and so called to emphasise its status as a gathering point for sports’ teams.
A spokesman for Kirklees Active Leisure, the charitable trust that manages Huddersfield Sports Centre as well as pools and fitness suites across the borough, said: “This project was a fantastic opportunity to add a little bit of creativity and involve centre users.”
For more information about Actionnaires contact Action for Blind People’s Sports Development Officer, Ian Spencer on 07515 188334 or email email@example.com