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Elms artwork is unveiled


Oct 4, 2016

A unique £6,000 artwork created by local schoolchildren has been unveiled in Chester-le- Street, Durham.

The glass “postcards from the past” were designed and made by pupils from Cestria. Primary School, working with residents at The Elms – the new £6.5m Extra Care scheme built by Cestria Community Housing, part of the Isos Group.

Featuring local landmarks, including Lumley Castle, the Chester Burn viaduct and Durham County Cricket Club’s Emirates Riverside, the designs were inspired by residents’ memories of Chester-le- Street – one of the oldest market towns in Durham.

Isos Community Development officer, Lewis Rimington, who organised the project, said: “The Elms is a community hub and the purpose behind this project was to foster strong links between its residents and the local community.

“The children have enjoyed it and the residents have really enjoyed being part of it; it’s been fantastic.”

After listening to and interpreting residents’ memories of the town, the children visited the Newcastle studio of glass artist Sue Woolhouse.

Sue specialises in designing and fabricating architectural glass and under her guidance they learned how to fuse glass to create the panels, before converting their designs into “decals” or glass transfers, which were overlaid on top of the “postcards”.

They then signed and wrote messages on the back of the glass panels which were mounted by local sculptor Neil Canavan.

And on Monday, their completed work was finally unveiled at The Elms for their parents, residents and staff to admire.

Cestria managing director, Martin Warhurst, said: “It has been fantastic to support such a successful project that has brought together the oldest and the youngest in our community.

“During the unveiling ceremony, residents from The Elms spoke about how the children’s positive and engaging attitude was a real credit to themselves, their school and their parents.

“All of the youngsters who have taken part have demonstrated real artistic flair and I would encourage any member of the public to call in at The Elms and see the artwork for themselves.”

As a memento of the project, Cestria Primary School received a glass panel featuring some of the children’s designs and each child was presented with the colourful coaster they made during the glass workshops.

The artwork, which also incorporates a timeline tracing Chester-le-Street’s history, can be viewed by visitors to The Elms, which runs a community café open to the public.

By Emily