All images by”Nicky takes Photos”
Residents walking on the Northern Slopes and in local parks may have spotted small signs dotted about on trees, fences and benches with positive messages on.
Placed on bunting, scraps of material or small flags stuck into the soil – there are comforting and motivational words such as “We all matter”, “We’re here to care” and “You’re amazing.”
They are the work of Knowle resident Julian Wood – a former Nursery and Primary teaching assistant and now full time artist, who wants to spread some kindness around the area.
Julian (42) launched his project The Art of Kindness a few years ago and has been running workshops on it.
But after losing his job at the start of lockdown – he decided to concentrate wholeheartedly on the project – realising this was the time people really needed the support.
He says: “My philosophy is that we all need kindness, and we are all artists. No special skills required.
“I’ve been running the project for a few years, but lost my temping jobs in March and was feeling quite depressed, as I live alone.
“So the art has been a great way to reach out to others and to spread some positivity about. Now seems a perfect time to be doing this kind of work.”
He says he has put some humorous messages in such as “You’ve got cute elbows” as he feels it’s important to make people laugh and smile “especially with all the Covid stress”.
The project has now really taken off – and Julian has been sending out Kindness Packs to local care homes and hospitals during the pandemic.
He is also now providing Make Your Own Kindness Packs to families and other residents where they can design their own messages.
His aim is to make everyone both young and old feel valued and special – and he can’t believe how well his work has been received by the local community.
He says:” I’ve had a fantastic response. I’ve also been helped by people getting in touch, helping me make the work I do more environmentally friendly and not causing a litter problem.”
Julian has run a Crowdfunder and is now looking to apply for more funding to take the project forward into the future.
He says: “I’m working on a project to put messages on the Northern Slopes, and I’d really appreciate Knowle West residents getting in touch with me to help me decide which messages to put up…
“I want to connect with Knowle West residents and make you feel part of this project…”