A group of teenagers have been spraying graffiti on a housing estate – but it’s all in a good cause.
The members of the Tŷ Llywelyn Youth Club in Llandudno are working with professional graffiti artist Andy Birch to create colourful signs promoting the £1.2 environmental project that’s under way at the Tre Cwm estate.
Housing association Cartrefi Conwy are transforming the area with new access roads, car parking spaces, footpaths, along with improved green spaces and play areas – all brightened up by a major programme of planting trees, shrubs and flowers.
Youth Club member Violet Sturdy, 11, a pupil at Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno, really enjoyed getting involved.
She said: “It’s a great idea to let people know what work is going on and to learn about safety around construction and machinery.
“I’ve always wanted to do art with spray cans and I can do it here without getting into trouble and we are making something really useful that loads of people will get to see. It’s a great idea.”
Fellow member Chelsea Woodyatt, 17, was equally enthusiastic.
She said: “It’s been great. I can’t wait to see what the final design looks like when it’s finished. Getting young people to help means they will pass on the message about safety and what is happening with the project to each other.
“It’s a great idea and I’ve really enjoyed spray painting graffiti onto the boards. Andy, the artist, has been great and has some really good ideas.”
Clare Phipps, community involvement coordinator at Cartrefi Conwy said: “We want the ideas for the sign boards to come from the young people themselves. Although under the guidance of youth workers and Andy, the design is up to them.
“When we did a similar environmental project on the Parc Peulwys estate in Llysfaen we created the information boards promoting the work, and this time we wanted to try something a little different and involve the community.
“Having previously worked with Andy, we knew his workshops and flair had been a hit with children and young people, so knew this was something that this type of activity would help encourage them to get involved.
“We are also using this time with the youth club members to talk about construction site safety which can cause issues during a 10-month long work programme like this.
“With around 50 different projects taking place over a 10-month period there is going to be heavy plant machinery moving about and parked on the estate as well as fenced off areas where the works are taking place, which can be seen as the perfect place to play for some children. It’s vital that young people know of the dangers.
“We feel that by involving young people right at the start and getting them to take ownership we can get the message across to a wider audience, and that will benefit everyone.”
Andy Birch, from Dime One Graffiti, in Old Colwyn, said: “I think it’s great we are giving children and young people the opportunity to decide what the signs boards should look like.
“Giving the young people ownership of what goes on the signs will help towards promoting the huge changes happening on the estate”
It was a sentiment echoed by Cartrefi Conwy’s health and safety and compliance officer, Wil Pritchard.
He said: “We are talking about up to 10 months of environmental works here on the Tre Cwm estate and we want each and every one of those months to be incident free.
“It’s been good to get involved with Ty Llywelyn Youth Club at an early stage. We can now hopefully work together to help each other.”
Gordon Woodyatt, Chair of the Tre Cwm Community Association which runs the youth club says more than 30 young people attend the youth club meetings on a Thursday (which is for 11-24 year olds), and 60+ on a Friday (which is for 8-11 year olds).
“It’s important that young people take ownership and really get involved in the environmental improvements taking place in their community.
“We need to ensure that safety during the works is talked about openly so that they stay safe, especially around machinery and construction work sites.”
He added: “Cartrefi Conwy is going about things in exactly the right way. The environmental improvements and other community projects they are working on are really important and will make a big difference to a great many young lives.
“The fact they are involved and included at the earliest stage is really welcome and will help make a big difference to the success of the overall project.”
Ty Llywelyn Youth Club leader, Todd Warden-Owen, who is funded by Children in Need, says Cartrefi Conwy is involving children and young people in the right way.
He said: “If you get young people on board at grass roots level they will take ownership. With so much construction work and earth movement going on it’s so important they understand safety issues.
“By getting them involved right at the start they will want to be involved and feel they have a role to play. I’m excited to see the finished product.”
Find out more about the Tre Cwm Environmental Project by visiting Tre Cwm on Facebook at www.facebook.com/trecwm