As we all know, it’s all very well being told how to be more active, but it’s not always that easy. We need to feel inspired to do so, and what better way to do that than by roping in the talents of school children to create beautiful art for us to look at every day! A recent initiative in Exeter supported by Live and Move did just that – the ‘Bridge Arts Project’.

Students from Willowbrook Primary School and St James School worked together on the project over a number of weeks throughout 2021 with local artist Stuart Crewes, who helped them to bring their creative ideas to life. 

The aim of the artwork was to brighten up the new Summer Lane cycle and footbridge, one of the most-used routes by pedestrians and cyclists alike when navigating the city. The students all created their art based on the theme ‘What It’s Like To Be More Active With Your Families’ – something we at Live and Move are really passionate about encouraging.

The artwork was launched by the children at a special event last year, where they had the chance to meet Olympian Jo Pavey. 

Jo said: “The children have been brilliant – they’ve worked so hard on this together with the artist, who has done an amazing job, everyone at the schools and everyone at Live & Move. They’ve all done a brilliant job.

“This artwork is going to inspire the community to get active, which is brilliant for physical and mental health. It will encourage people to improve their wellbeing and get all the positive benefits of being active, and I’ve really been inspired to see it all – it’s been amazing.”

Part of the process was for participants to talk to their families and friends about what active travel means to them, before they were able to come up with initial designs for the bridge. 

At Live and Move, we know that it’s vital to involve people of all generations in the discussion around being more active. Using the skills, ideas, and experiences of primary and secondary-aged schoolchildren, most of whom use the Summer Lane bridge almost every day, was a key part of the project to really tie it into the community.

Molly Marlow, Headteacher of Willowbrook School, says: “Asking children of primary age to be part of something like this is hugely empowering for them. Enabling them to contribute to something of such importance makes them feel that their views are valued, and that they have a part to play in their community.

Did you know, there are people in your community who can help you to be more active? Each community in Exeter has its own Community Physical Activity Organiser. We’ve been writing about them recently so head on over to our social media pages, or click here to find out who yours is and how to reach them.

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