Emma Larkinson from Place Prospectors explains why she thinks the Heritage Lottery Fund decision on Stirchley Baths – due very soon – has to be a ‘yes’…
“Stirchley Baths was once at the hub of a vibrant junction at Bournville Lane bringing together learning, leisure and commerce. Over the years Stirchley has lost many of its local resources – the post office, co-operative education centre, the Friends Meeting House, the great mixed use road that was Hazelwell Lane – and it lost its name from the station ocean named Stirchley Street.
At a time of such financial pressures on public and private investment this is a huge opportunity for the community to bring back into use this beautiful building. Stirchley’s active networks of creative minds, committed community leaders and traders could make this building into a social focus once again. But we need a yes to start the ball rolling!”
The decision from HLF is expected very soon. Please tell us why it *has* to be a ‘yes’ by:
Stirchley Baths’ final-stage bid for Lottery funding will be submitted on 17th June 2013. It’s a pivotal moment in the history of the project and of the building itself.
This moment was marked with a fantastic participatory arts event at the Baths on Saturday called ‘Sink Or Swim’, organised by Place Prospectors.
Local people came along to weigh in their support for the project (literally!) and transformed the word ‘Sink’ in balloons into ‘Swim’. Dozens and dozens of balloons were weighed down with a ‘thumbs up’ ceramic weight. Visitors to the event chose a balloon…
and had their ceramic hand weighed in.
A record of the weight was made in a special ledger, which they signed, and their balloon was added to the ‘Swim’ board.
Slowly, over the event, the word ‘Sink’ became ‘Swim’ – genius! – before all of the balloons were popped at the end!
The wonderful Stirchley Shakers cheerleaders added a celebratory feeling to the day…
and well over 200 people visited the event, many sitting on the old bowling green behind Stirchley Baths to have some food.
At the end of the event, the water area even became an impromptu paddling pool!
It was a really wonderful day! Huge thanks to Place Prospectors for creating such a fantastic way for local people to show their support for the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, and especially to everyone who came along on the day.
The HLF bid will be submitted on 17th June, with a decision expected in September…
Please come along to Stirchley Baths on Saturday 8th June,11am to 1pm, to ‘weigh in’ your support for the Baths as your community building.
The ‘balloontastic’ community art event – called ‘Sink or Swim’ – is being held on the old bowling green behind Stirchley Baths and ties in with the submission of the final and full bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It’s called ‘Sink or Swim’ to reflect this pivotal moment in the project’s history and is a Place Prospectors event. You can hear Emma and Jayne on their involvement in the Stirchley Baths project HERE
You can come along to the bowling green between 11am and 1pm to ‘weigh in your interest’ in the Baths as your community building. You’ll be helping to turn ‘sink’ into ‘swim’ using balloons, and will get to take away a custom-made weight for keeps as a memento of the day.
Stirchley Shakers, a newly-formed cheerleading group, will be there, and there will also be balloon modelling and refreshments available.
It was great to meet Emma Larkinson and Jayne Murray from Place Prospectors to hear all about a piece of artwork they’ve been commissioned to produce as part of the project to bring Stirchley Baths back into use as a community hub.
The first will be a piece of participatory art that will be started in June when the funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is submitted. It will be called (somewhat fittingly at this critical stage in the project) ‘Sink or Swim’ and will require lots of community participation, so we’ll keep you updated on the details for this so you can get involved.
The second piece of artwork will be housed inside the community hub and Emma and Jayne have a number of ideas that they’re working up. They talk about them in detail in the interview but some ideas include:
Signs made of glitterboard (a material that moves and ripples gently, giving an appearance of water) to direct people from the rear of the Baths to the entrance at the front
There is space in the entrance lobby for a welcome mat. In fact, an indentation in the floor shows clearly where the original would have been. Emma and Jayne are thinking of making a new welcome mat
Remember the ceremonial key that was used to open the Baths in 1911? A new one could be made to mark the re-opening of the building as a community hub
Emma and Jayne are looking to utilise the bore hole in the Baths. When it opened, the original plan was to well for water but, unfortunately, a source was never found