The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 To bring members up to speed on the ‘All the Colours’ lamppost wrapping initiative that has been developed as a result of the work of the Healthy Places project led by Public Health Agency focussed on North Belfast. As outlined within the body of the report both Government departments and local community organisations and residents have been involved in developing the project, however in order for it to progress the Department for Infrastructure have requested that Council must request permission/licence as a ‘competent authority’. Thus, PHA has approached us for our support in taking this forward.
1.2 Council officers have since followed up with DfI for clarity who have explained their rationale as; ‘in order to ensure any artwork on the Department’s property has the full support of the local community, the only organisations we will consider granting permission to attach any materials to our property are local councils. In this way we are able to ensure that local councillors, who are the best contacts within local communities to manage any concerns from residents who may object to the materials, are involved.’
1.3 Legal services have advised that whilst we can indicate our support for the project overall that Council shouldn’t take on the role of ‘competent authority’ as requested by DfI given that we have no function or responsibility in relation to lampposts – they are the property of, and are maintained by the Department.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
· Note the content of this report by way of update.
· Discuss and decide whether they are supportive of the project.
· Consider Council support for the project and, if so, request Council officers to go back to relevant partners (namely DfI, PHA and USI) informing them that Council is supportive of the project but cannot act as the competent authority (as requested by DfI) given that we are not responsible for street lampposts.
3.1 Bright Ideas is a programme developed through community engagement as part of the Healthy Places Project within the Ardoyne and Ballysillan areas of North Belfast. Healthy Places is a place based approach which aims to improve health, reduce inequalities and improved wellbeing and wider social outcomes (led by Public Health Agency, BCC is a partner in the initiative).
Despite being surrounded by large green spaces such as Clarendon Park and with great views of the surrounding hills, communities such as Ardoyne and Ballysillan often complain of a lack of access to green spaces. Whilst considerable investment has gone into improving active travel networks and development of parks, there remains a number of invisible barriers that prevent certain communities from feeling they belong in green spaces. There is an abundance of evidence to suggest that regular use of green spaces improves physical fitness and reduces depression, enhancing the health and wellbeing of people living and working in cities. Having more accessible, shared green spaces could also help to address anti-social behaviour by providing a space for diversionary activities.
To address this issue Public Health Agency have been working with local communities through Urban Scale Interventions to improve and promote the use of green spaces and engage communities within the Ardoyne and Ballysillan areas to come up with innovative and creative solutions to local issues.
Under the banner of ‘Bright Ideas North Belfast’ a series of community conversations, workshops and public events have taken place. These have helped to identify issues in the local area and develop possible solutions.
One of the key recurring themes was the need to brighten up the streets with colourful messaging and artwork as part of a place based approach to improving public spaces in North Belfast.
3.2 All the Colours initiative (lamppost wrapping)
A number of interventions have been co-designed with local community groups and residents, including a ‘Bright Ideas Bird Box’ for people to personalise and put up in their gardens to brighten them up and connect to nature, as well as an intergenerational shared meals programme. An additional project aims to bring colour to the streets by wrapping lampposts with artwork created by local illustrators and artists focused on the positive stories and themes that have been developed by the communities themselves as part of the project.
3.3 Implementation plan
1. USI have delivered 200 engagement kits through the collaboration of local representatives in order to be able to collect positive stories and ideas around the project themes.
2. ‘Usfolk’ will illustrate the engagement by citizens of the area into three themed artworks which will be used as lamp post wrappings (designs will be taken back to participants to approve for feedback)
3. Technical approval in principle by DFI has been approved providing the project is approved by Belfast City Council and their relevant procedures.
1. Full access to panels
2. Markings easily identifiable
3. Specifications, Rams and insurances provided
4. Content signed off (no commercial promotion in media)
4. The project will be installed for implementation (September 2020 - Date TBC subject to approvals)
5. Budget has been set aside for the removal of graphics if required however the materials used have a seven year life expectancy and are graded for outdoor application.
Approximately 60 lampposts are have been identified on streets across North Belfast, with a particular focus on Ardoyne and Ballysillan wards. Community groups have helped to create the idea and community leaders are supportive of the programme delivery. More than 30 community groups have been involved in the bright ideas process, with 250 online and offline conversations covering an inclusive age range (7 to 80 years old).
3.5 Art work
The artwork has been created by local Belfast illustrators ‘UsFolk’ focusing on themes of inclusion, intergenerational exchange and green space. Their previous artwork has been used on a range of public realm infrastructure including service boxes and telephone boxes.
Estimated date of installation: week commencing 14th September 2020 (covering 100 lampposts).
No road closures will be required as part of installation and all relevant insurances are in place.
Installer to ensure no interruption of access to lamp post cover, no markings will be wrapped. Material meets external environment standards, with a product lifespan of at least 7 years. The durability of material reduces anti-social behaviour, the product is removed professionally which reduces vandalism and requires no-maintenance.
3.6 Part of a wider approach
The lampposts will form a key part of a wider implementation to deliver the intervention in North Belfast which will include the material being applied to other city infrastructure objects we see in the area subject to additional approvals.
The approach is being seen as highly innovative and opportunities are arising in which lampposts could be reimagined in the City Centre (subject to approvals) as part of the COVID recovery process to support wayfinding, crowd flow and storytelling opportunities with Belfast City Council.
Studies have shown that improving aesthetics of an area and adding colour to neighbourhoods can increase overall community wellbeing, demonstrate a sense of value to residents and reduce antisocial behaviour and crime. In a time of pandemic this project offers an opportunity to provide local responses in line with NI COVID regulations to improve the places we live, work and play.
The project has already been applying such methods through the use of pop ups with citizens and organisations.
This is a truly co-designed project with local community groups and provides the opportunity to increase community cohesion and public value through a simple action that can have significant neighbourhood benefits. Public perception research will be carried out before and after to show the value such a simple action can have in improving neighbourhood feel.
3.8 Key Departments involved in developing the project (project board reps)
· Public Health Agency
· Department of Justice
· Department of Health
· Department for Communities
· Department for Infrastructure
· PSNI Neighbourhood Policing team North & West Belfast
3.9 Community groups consulted in the project and in co-design as part of bright ideas North Belfast
· Ardoyne Shankill Health Partnership
· Ardoyne Youth Enterprise
· Ardoyne Youth Club
· Ashton Centre
· Ballysillan Primary School
· Bradley Manor Care Home
· Flax Trust Arts
· Belfast Healthy Cities
· Little explorers - Ardoyne Community Centre
· NBWISP - North Belfast Women's Initiative & Support Project
· North Belfast Friendship Club
· North Belfast Health Forum
· North Belfast Men’s shed
· Our Lady of Mercy Primary School
· R City Belfast
· ROC - Redeem Our Community
· Twaddell and Woodvale Resident Association
· Urban Villages Initiative (supported the project)
· Women’s tech
3.10 Financial and Resource Implications
There are additional financial or resource implications contained within this report. Funding is in place (via PHA) to cover both implementation and de-installation costs.
3.11 Equality or Good Relations implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
There are no equality, good relations or rural needs implications contained within this report.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations within the report.