A tunnel under the railway part of the Riverview and River Pool Linear Park in Bellingham has received a make over by young people from the local area following a successful bid to the Bellingham Assembly. The park is part of the WaterlinkWay which is an 8 mile (12 km) path between Lower Sydenham and the River Thames that can be walked or cycled.
Led by local artist Jasmine Parker working with Youth First, Lewisham’s co-operative youth service based in Bellingham they have created a bright and colourful entrance by painting a nature inspired mural on the outer walls to counteract the dark and dank tunnel.
This is a busy thoroughfare and many people have commented how it was about time something was done and that it brightens up the area.
Jasmine says on her blog: “I heard one boy say that he used to be scared going through the tunnel but now isn’t. Lots of children comment and are drawn to the animals that are painted and it’s lovely to hear families engage with it. I’ve heard, for example, parents asking their children what colour the ladybird is and how many ducks are there.”
At the official launch on Thursday, 5th July at Youth First’s HQ The Bellingham Gateway Youth Centre, Bellingham Councillor Alan Hall said:
“The dark and damp tunnel has been made a happier and friendlier place thanks to a local artist, the local youth club and young people of Bellingham. The community is coming together in tough times.”
“The railway was built in 1857 and it looks like this is the first coat of paint.”
“The Bellingham Assembly uses Participatory Budgeting to allow the local community to decide how our small pot of funds is spent. This is based on a project in Brazil where residents decided budget allocations for competing priorities for council works. There is huge demand and it is right that local people decide which projects are finally funded.”
Lewisham Council was involved in London’s first pilot in 2008 and a short video is here