Spalding street art boards carry powerful mental health message
The long-awaited street art boards in Spalding have finally been put to use with an emotive mental health message.
The boards were erected a few weeks ago after the district council agreed a policy to offer a space for the art following a public campaign.
As a result, artist Honr (Karl Barfoot) has collaborated on a new piece at the town’s Castle Sports Complex with Vanessa Browning of mental health support group Community Mind Matters and district councillor Jack McLean.
Speaking as he worked on the piece on Thursday, Karl said: “I really wanted to do something on men’s mental health because men don’t speak up about their feelings.
“I knew what I wanted to do and thought this exact idea up last night so I decided it was time to get it done.
“I was worried it might be too dark but actually, men’s mental health is a dark topic so I think it works well.”
Vanessa, who is hoping to have a second mental health bench installed near the artwork, says the message it presents is strong.
She said: “It’s been a long battle to get here but this gives a great message to anyone who walks past it. Really, it was just a mad moment that came out of my mouth but now it’s happened.
“I saw a young lad stood in front of it and he said ‘wow’ and then said that he understood it what it meant to ask for help which is just amazing.
“The numbers for the Samaritans and text service Shout are included in the art too so that people are aware of the help that’s out there.”
Vanessa is encouraging people to take a picture of themselves in the front of the piece and post it to social media either on the Community Mind Matters Facebook page or by using the hashtag #communitymindmatters.
District council Chairman Paul Redgate worked on the policy.
He said: “I’m pleased to see the piece first created around men's mental health for which I’m passionate about and look forward to seeing other works develop as time goes by.”
Coun Henry Bingham added: “This is a step in the right direction and shows what street art really is. Although it took longer than we had hoped, I hope that this shows that street art can have a positive impact.”