Blue skies shone over a selection of junior snails outside Jubilee Library yesterday for the launch of Snailspace’s Junior Snailway. 57 smaller snails will join 50 giant gastropods as part of Snailspace, this autumns public art event, in aid of Martlets Hospice.
VIP guests included the teachers, parents and children from the schools involved, Learners Ambassador Nick Sharratt and Sir Rod Aldridge, founder of the Aldridge Foundation, headline sponsors of the Junior Snailway.
As well as getting to meet some of the snails and grab ‘snailfies’, guests were also treated to host of performances to celebrate the creativity of Brighton’s children and young people. Staff and toddlers from Each Peach nursery performed Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Feeling Groovy’, a song that has become an anthem for the Snailspace campaign (‘slow down you move to fast’).
Nick Sharratt got everyone drawing to prove that anyone can be artistic. Finally, children from Helen O’Grady Drama Academy gave a world premier performance of their original Snailspace play, bringing all the elements of the Snailspace campaign to life.
Martlets CEO Imelda Glackin welcomed everyone to the event and explained just how important the Junior Snailway is to the overall Snailspace campaign: “When we did the Snowdogs event in 2016 only 17 schools got involved, this time we have 57. It is brilliant to be able to reach out to all of those young people to inspire their creativity as well as engaging them with ideas around wellbeing, and of what it means to ‘life to the full’, which is an ethos that underpins our work as a hospice.
“Another key element of the Junior Snailway is to connect our young people with the entrepreneurial spirit that is also part of fundraising. We couldn’t have achieved all of this without the support of Sir Rod Aldridge and the Aldridge Foundation and we would like to say a huge thank you to them today.”
Sir Rod Aldridge explained why he had wanted to back the Junior Snailway’s Education Programme: “Creativity and enterprise should be at the heart of education and at the Aldridge Foundation we want every child to have the opportunity to find that spark. That’s why it’s so exciting that the Junior Snailway has given 15,000 children in the city the chance to be part of this brilliant campaign. As a part of our sponsorship were delighted to be able to gift two junior snails to local primary schools, Coombe Rd and St Peters, so that they could take part in this fantastic project.”
In a moment of serendipity, Jo Rosenberg, Community Engagement Coordinator at Brighton & Hove Libraries followed on from Sir Rod and recounted an incident from earlier in the day to highlight just how Snailspace had already made a difference.
“A family whose children go to Coombe Rd Primary came to the library early this morning to find their snail. They told me they’d never been before so went in to have a look around. I bumped into them on their way out and the children excitedly showed me their brand new library cards as they’d just signed up. It was such a lovely moment and shows how a project like this can make a difference to young peoples’ lives.”
In another touching moment, Sir Rod Aldridge dedicated his involvement in the Junior Snailway to his mother, Doris Aldridge. Doris, who passed away last year at the age of 101, was a life-long support of Martlets, frequently calling it ‘her charity’. Sir Rod said: “It is also for her that I wanted to do this. For me today is emotional. The emotion of education and the emotion of family.”
All 57 of the junior snails will be in various locations across the city from Saturday 15th Sept and 18th November. To find out where they are pick up a Map from Martlets Shops or download one from the website, www.snailspacebrighton.co.uk.