Scholes stones divide opinion

Scholes Henge taking shape May 21, 2012
Scholes Henge taking shape May 21, 2012

THIS huge stone monument was erected to transform a once-neglected area into an iconic welcome to Scholes.

But while some hail Scholes-henge an “exciting project” which brings a cultural identity to the area, others brand it an “eyesore” and a waste of money.

Members of Sunshine House community centre have been working with Catch-22, a charity which supports troubled youngsters, to install seven stones, chiselled in graffiti-style letters to spell SCHOLES.

Youngsters supported by the charity will help to chisel the last letter S on site.

Work is expected to be finished in time for the Olympic torch relay, on May 31, with the aim to show visitors what cultural and artistic merits Scholes has through the Art to Art programme at Sunshine House. The scheme cost £10,000, which was funded by a government grant from Supporting People, aimed at improving the area and engaging young people.

Local councillors also contributed £900 of their Brighter Borough money towards it.

The value of the scheme is estimated as being upwards of £50,000, as local businesses and community members offered their services for free, including sculptor Thompason Dagnall and Ainscough Crane Hire.

Andrew Bowler, a youth services worker at Catch 22, said: “Two years ago we put in a bid for an idea to improve the community area and help engage young people and we won a £10,000 grant.

“The money covered the concrete and steel support for the monument.

“Luckily, we had the stones donated to us from a quarry near Preston, the sculptor work was done for free by Lancashire-based sculptor Thompson Dagnall, and Ainscough Crane Hire supplied us with free crane hire.

“This project is amazing. We could have just put plants there, which would have lasted a few months, but we wanted to do something really big and long term.

“It is really unique and is a lasting monument which will completely transform the piece of land.”

Barbara Nettleton, who runs the Art to Art project in Sunshine House, Scholes, said: “This gives Scholes the identity we deserve.

“The grant was given to us to specifically engage with young people and get them involved in a project, which is exactly what we have done.

“It has given youngsters the experience of street art by allowing them to create the design and even finish the last letter, which allows them to identify with it.

“It has also brought great community spirit, with partnerships with Ainscough, Thompson Dagnall and the local volunteers.

“This has been two years in the making.

“The stone work has been up for planning permission, with the community consulted, and we have not had any objections.”

Ward councillor David Molyneux, and champion for regeneration, said: “It is a really exciting project and it will get the community who have a strong affinity to Scholes involved to achieve improvements to the area.

“We know times are hard but there are occasions where communities have got to show their strong belief in the area and work together.”

Fellow ward councillor Janice Sharratt said: “This is money well spent as it has a feel good factor in the community.”