Spalding’s long-awaited street art signs have finally been put to good use with an emotive mental health message.
The signs were erected a few weeks ago after the District Council agreed a policy to provide space for art following a public campaign.
As a result, artist Honr (Karl Barfoot) has collaborated on a new play at the city’s Castle Sports Complex with Vanessa Browning of mental health support group Community Mind Matters and District Councilor Jack McLean.
Speaking while working on the article on Thursday, Karl said: ‘I really wanted to do something about men’s mental health because men don’t talk about their feelings.
“I knew what I wanted to do and thought about this exact idea last night, so I decided it was time to do it.
“I was afraid it was too dark, but actually men’s mental health is a dark subject, so I think it works well.”
Vanessa, who hopes to have a second mental health bench installed near the work, says the message it presents is strong.
She said: “It’s been a long battle to get here, but it sends a great message to everyone who walks past. Really, it was just a crazy moment that came out of my mouth but now it’s happened.
“I saw a young boy standing in front and he said ‘wow’ and then said he understood what it meant to ask for help, which is just amazing.
“Numbers for Samaritans and the Shout text service are also included in the art so people are aware of the help available.”
Vanessa encourages people to take a photo of themselves in front of the room and post it on social media, either on the Community Mind Matters Facebook page or using the hashtag #communitymindmatters.
District Council Chairman Paul Redgate worked on the policy.
He said, “I’m thrilled to see the piece created for the first time around men’s mental health that I’m passionate about and look forward to seeing more works develop over time.”
Councilor Henry Bingham added: “This is a step in the right direction and shows what street art is really about. Although it took longer than expected, I hope it shows that street art can have a positive impact.