Art appeal to help lift New Ferry spirits

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Picture of New Ferry butterfly painting. Pic © Harry Leahey JMU Journalism

Residents in New Ferry are calling for more street art to help rejuvenate the town centre following the devastating explosion which happened last year.

It comes after the introduction of a mural depicting a butterfly appeared in the town, bringing a touch of colour to the area.

This follows months of hope and frustration among the community, as it continues to wait for funding from the UK Government to help kick-start its regeneration plans. The aim in the meantime is to showcase creativity in and around the area.

Simon Crabtree, who is Vice-Chairman of the New Ferry town team, suggested covering the local precinct with butterflies as a symbol of hope for the community. He said: “Just as Manchester has the bee, I thought the butterfly as we have a butterfly park and it reflects rebirth and renewal.”

Since then, stickers of the butterfly symbol with #LoveNewFerry have been appearing outside many local businesses. As well as this, local wildlife artist Vanessa Grundy recently painted a huge butterfly near the New Ferry precinct to help brighten up the area and raise peoples hopes for the future.

She told JMU Journalism: “When I first heard about the butterfly theme emerging throughout New Ferry, and being a wildlife artist, I knew I wanted to be involved in some way.

“The response from the community has been really positive, with the butterfly already being the symbol of the regeneration… it seems to have lifted many people’s spirits.”

YouTube: Harry Leahey

Vanessa’s butterfly is not the first piece of artwork that has been done in aid of New Ferry. Earlier in the year, an item of graffiti was spotted near the blast site, with some speculating it may have been the work of mysterious street artist, Banksy.

Resident Christopher Lee Power, who is still waiting to move back into his home because of the blast, told JMU Journalism how great it would be for more art work to be done.

He said: “I think that art is powerful and can make people stop and think. If more art is to be done in New Ferry, what a wonderful opportunity it would be to involve more local artists.”

While the community continues to rally together over one year on, little progress has been made for regeneration.

Last month, a delegation made up of local business owners, residents, as well as Labour MP Alison McGovern, met with Communities’ Secretary, James Brokenshire, to discuss investment from government.

It is hoped following the meeting, a plan for New Ferry will be agreed in the coming months.

Twitter: Ann Grimes