Mural To Beat Graffiti

To beat graffiti and tag vandals who repeatedly daub the walls of the subway under the A2, between Hook Lane, Falconwood and Leechcroft Road, Blackfen, local residents tasked local youngsters and members of Welling Youth Centre with painting proper murals along the tunnel walls.

Cllr Simon Windle, the Bexley Cabinet Member responsible for Youth Services, says: “This is a perfect example of the way the borough’s young people can use their skills to serve their community and improve the environment while, at the same time, having fun. I have been to view the murals and, in trying to solve a problem of acts of anti-social behaviour, what these youngsters have done is to create a fantastic work of art.”

Each wall is 33 metres long and three metres high, giving the youthful artists a ‘canvas’ 66 metres in length, needing more than £2,000-worth of spray paint.

Ward Cllr Val Clark says: “The trigger for this project came from the Falconwood and Welling Resident’s Panel which had £5,000 from Bexley Community Safety Partnership to spend on various local initiatives to improve their area. Residents were asked for ideas. I suggested a mural under the A2 because I had seen a cheery mural elsewhere that brightened the area and stopped graffiti. Residents went to Welling Youth Centre and saw what kind of work could be done.”

Cllr Clark and local Police Community Support Officer, Richard Shurmer, approached Bexley Youth Service to see if they could help improve the appearance of the footpath under East Rochester Way. The youth centre was additionally given money from an Awards for All grant by the Gibsons Residents’ Association with another £700 from Groundworks.

The artists, six youngsters from the area and six from the youth centre, led by artistic advisers from the Get the Message company, worked during the school half term holidays.

They produced, on one side, a mural depicting forms of transport, with the direction sign ‘Blackfen’ at one end and ‘Falconwood’ at the other, and on the other wall, illustrations of all the sports available in the borough each side of the word ‘Extreme’.

People using the subway during the work were delighted at the transformation. “It cheers me up,” one pedestrian said.

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