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Want to get involved and ‘Get Creative with Sandy Lane’?

People who live and work around Sandy Lane Shopping Centre can become involved in West Lancashire Borough Council’s ‘Get Creative with Sandy Lane’ project and they can help to make the shopping centre a more colourful and inviting place for people who shop, work and visit the centre.

A period of creative consultation will be facilitated by artist Sarah Jane Richards, which is planned for inspiring people to come up with some ideas for improving the image of the centre. These ideas could include new seating, landscaping and improvements to the entrances and walkways as part of an initiative which could build on the heritage of Sandy Lane. With Sandy Lane being a part of Old Skelmersdale it has got a long and proud history and with the involvement of the community this initiative could help in making the area a more appealing place to attract visitors and customers.

West Lancashire Borough Council are looking to work in partnership with Lancashire County Council and are awaiting the results of a grant funding application which will help in expanding the project. The consultation would involve talking to the businesses at the centre and would provide opportunities for the local community to become involved. The process would include a number of workshops and drop-in activities which would result in the installation of temporary artworks, created by local people, which would give the centre festival feel. The activities are being aimed towards finding out how the local residents feel about the centre and exploring, in a creative way, how the centre and its surroundings could be improved.

The suggestions which are put forward during the activities would inform the basis of a design brief which would be used to attract submissions of interest from creative companies. Those who are shortlisted, would then be invited to produce practical ideas for schemes. These would then be put on display at Sandy Lane with a favourite design being chosen by a public vote. The implementation of the proposed scheme of work will be dependent upon achieving funding.

There has been a mural ‘The storytelling Tree’ by artist Martin Hayhust which has been painted on one of the staircases at the centre, this is in readiness for a free summer programme of events which are planned to include storytelling, a teddy bears picnic and a Vintage and Handmade fair.

Artist Sarah Jane Richards has been working with pupils from St Richard’s Catholic Primary School over two days in order to develop ideas about Sandy Lane which will contribute towards the initial part of the consultation process. The whole school has had a chance to produce designs which will inform finished pieces of artwork produced by the artist as temporary installations around the centre.

The portfolio holder for Regeneration and Estates, Councillor Andrew Fowler, said ‘There is a fantastic community spirit among the people who live and work around Sandy Lane and we hope this scheme will draw on that and become a big success with local people. So please come along to our drop in creative consultation sessions and tell us about your ideas for the centre.’

The portfolio holder for Leisure, Councillor David Sudworth, said ‘Sandy Lane Shopping centre is a thriving focal point for the local community and we are aiming to make it an even better place to for people to work and shop with this project. So make sure you get involved and let us know what ideas you have for the area.’

The first drop-in sessions where people can give their ideas are entitled ‘Secrets of Sandy Lane’ and take place on Wednesday 30 July and Saturday 2 August between 10am and midday and 1pm and 3pm. These will reveal the hidden history of Sandy Lane by bringing alive its history by creating flagged bunting that will be installed around the centre.

Two more sessions, entitled ‘On the Fence’, take place on Tuesday 19 August and Friday 22 August. Visitors can also work with artist Sarah Jane Richards to design and create carnival creatures to adorn the street furniture at Sandy Lane.

For more information on the project please contact West Lancashire Arts Development Manager Helen Juste on 01695 571306 / 571328 or email helen.juste@westlancs.gov.uk.

There are some great free fun summer activities planned for Sandy Lane over the coming months. More details will be released very soon.

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