One year since the creation of the mural at Grays Underpass, Thurrock’s Be Smart team is celebrating with the announcement that incidents of graffiti have been slashed.
Thurrock Through the Ages was the first of four successful murals created in the borough in a bid to reduce the incidents of graffiti. Twelve months since it brightened the walls of the underpass in Grays Town Centre there have been just four reports of graffiti “tags” on the mural, compared to more than 100 in the previous year.
The cost of removing the tags in 2008 was in excess of £750 compared to just £35 in 2009.
Since the Grays’ mural three more have brightened up the borough. The latest Be Smart project “You Don’t Know About Me”, proudly adorns the walls at Stanford-le-Hope Youth Centre. Created by artist John Bulley, the mural features members of the youth centre who had their photographs taken to ensure their likeness was reflected on the mural.*
A key element to the Be Smart mural projects is the involvement of young offenders through Thurrock’s Youth and Connexions Team.
Superintendent Ivor Harvey, Chair of the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership, added: “By involving young people who may have been guilty of ‘tagging’ in the past we are instilling a sense of ownership and pride in them which benefits the young person, their family and friends, and ultimately the people of Thurrock.”
The original Grays project saw 17 dedicated and artistic young people work together using their artistic skills by researching, designing and creating the mural at the walkway.
The Thurrock Community Safety Partnership funded project was a joint programme which saw Thurrock Council’s Be Smart Environmental Education Programme, Thurrock Youth Offending Service, Connexions, Brave Arts and Essex Police work with the young artists.
Other murals already adding some colour to the borough are Tamarisk Road in South Ockendon which has a historical timeline theme and the musical-themed mural at the Hairpin Bridge in Tilbury which shows singers representing a wide range of genres, from Dame Vera Lynn to British rapper Tinchy Stryder.
This year a further three murals are planned across the borough again funded by a variety of organisations including Thurrock Community Safety Partnership and Thurrock Youth and Connexion.