Community art project installed at Banbury landmark

Banbury’s iconic cross has been given a cheerful makeover for Mental Health Awareness Week thanks to the community arts project, Round and Round.

Published: Wednesday, 15th May 2024

Round and Round

Cherwell District Council’s landscaping, wellbeing and communities teams, in partnership with local artist Anne-Marie Cadman, held workshops across Banbury last month that saw over 200 people of all ages take part.

The Round and Round project is a council-led initiative with sustainability at its heart. Following the principles of reducing, reusing, and recycling, the initiative has given old floral display frames a new lease of life thanks to the creative talents of the Cherwell community.

Across twelve sessions at The Hill Centre, Orinoco, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury College, Cornhill Centre and Bridge Street Community Garden, people put their creative skills on show by decorating a sun and three hobby horse frames.

Nicola Riley, Assistant Director of Wellbeing and Housing Services, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many people to our arts sessions.

“Being hands-on and working with people and businesses across Cherwell is something we are passionate about, and the Round and Round project was the perfect opportunity to help people make new friends and learn new skills.

“We installed the completed floral frames on the Banbury Cross roundabout at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week to mark the importance community events and arts can play in promoting good mental health and resilience.

"Working with others from all parts of the community to build something can foster a sense of belonging, reduce social isolation, and empower individuals to express themselves. The completed frames are beautiful and will serve as a colourful greeting to help raise the spirits and smiles of those visiting Banbury Cross."

Lacey Leonard, Community Worker at The Hill Community Centre, said: “When the project was first spoken about, I was quite excited to be involved. As the weeks went on, seeing Dobbin [the hobby horse] come together was amazing. From a little idea like giving him eyes and earrings we now have a fully glorious horse who’s been made with love and going to stand full of colour.

“It was so much fun, and I can’t wait to see him standing at the Banbury Cross.”

Those who couldn’t attend the in-person events could also take part in the initiative by collecting a DIY pack and creating an individual disc at home. These were then compiled and added to the 2.5-metre sun frame.

The sun and hobby horse frames will be displayed at the Banbury Cross roundabout from Wednesday, 15 May, until the end of summer.