Children and families came together last week with artist Jim Bond and LeftCoast to create an outdoor storytelling shelter at Mereside Children?s Centre as part of a new programme of activities taking place this summer on the estate.

Artist Jim Bond came up with the design for the shelter and with the help of the community it has been constructed from tree branches and recycled materials. The aim of the project was to inspire children and their families to be creative from an early age and work together to build stronger communities and make their own environments better.

The free event which saw over forty children and their parents get together to build the structure, helped to launch Mereside at Play, a series of free activities exploring how green spaces can be used for creative play.

Kerenza McClarnan, Creative Engagement Manager at LeftCoast, said:

?It was fantastic to see such a large group of local families all working together with Jim to build the structure. It really was a bit of a labour of love with lots of people coming back on both days to help and everyone is really pleased with the results.?

Carol Whiteside, Mereside Children?s Centre Manager, said:

?I?m absolutely delighted with the shelter which is such a great addition to the facilities we have for families at the Children?s Centre. Both the staff here and our families are really excited to get started with storytelling sessions in the shelter.?

?We?ve really been enjoying working alongside LeftCoast to explore how art can be a part of play ? the experience has been truly fantastic and we?re looking forward to the rest of our creative summer on the estate.?

The next activity as part of the Mereside at Play programme is a free Forest School and Den Making Workshop taking place on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 August from 11am to 4pm meeting outside the Boys & Girls Club on Bowness Avenue.

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