Story benches reflect community’s views on Foreshore’s future
Two colourful characters in the shape of ‘Story Benches’ have been installed on Flint Foreshore. Designed by local artist Mike Owen, the benches were created after discussions with the local community as part of a community arts project staged earlier this year, led by Lorna Jenner and Lisa Heledd Jones, organised by Flintshire County Council and supported by Cadw and Welsh Government.
The project sought local community views about developments they’d like to see on Flint Foreshore and around Flint Castle. A ‘Story Shop’ was created in the old florist shop on Church Street giving people the opportunity to call in and share their memories of Flint and hopes for the town and foreshore.
Lorna and Lisa noted that:
“The story shop had different sections relating to the castle and coast - archive photos of Flint, memories of the castle and foreshore, an exhibition about the RNLI, rugby and football teams. We also looked to the future, and that's where the benches came in. Over 700 visitors from across the community responded with their ideas and helped shape three main stories.
“Each Story Seat includes a carved character that represents a story from the coast that was shared during our time in the shop. Having looked at all the suggestions, we proposed the figures should be a WWI soldier, a fisherwoman and an RNLI helmswoman, characters that represent Flint's past and present.”
The project is just one part of the broader regeneration vision for the foreshore where partners are actively working together to try and transform the area to a must see national destination and a gateway to North East Wales. Further developments, will include the installation of the final Story bench, flood-lighting and also further work on more permanent public art on the foreshore.
Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Lord Ellis-Thomas said;
‘I am delighted to see how community engagement coupled with Welsh Government funding has enabled this delightful project help reflect contemporary life and pay tribute to important local heritage. It also provides a welcome boost to Flint and the surrounding area.’
Peter Rooney, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said;
‘The RNLI is very much part of the Flint community, we are indebted to local people who give our charity so much support. We are thrilled to see our volunteer crew being recognised in this way and hope people enjoy the statue for many years to come.’
Cllr. Vicky Perfect, a Flintshire County Councillor and Custodian of Flint Castle said;
“Having been involved in this project from the beginning I’m over the moon with the results. The benches are an asset to the castle, and to Flint as a whole."
Cllr. Carolyn Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Countryside said;
“The benches were installed by Flintshire County Council’s Countryside Service as part of their annual Big Dee Day clean-up events and activities and I am sure they will be very popular with visitors and residents alike.”