Citizens Advice Solihull Borough (CASB) has launched the “Tree of Reflection”, a community arts project designed to give local people the opportunity to express how the pandemic has affected their lives over the last 18 months. The Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ken Meeson, will be placing his own tribute on the tree in the Solihull Library Courtyard Gallery at 3.00 pm on 13th September 2021.
The project is the brainchild of Sharon Gates (above) who is one of the CASB Social Prescribing team. CASB have been working with GPs in Solihull to provide support and advice to local people who have been isolated and lonely, especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Sharon wanted to create a “Tree of Reflection” that is an interactive, thought-provoking and permanent reminder of how the community has come together to support each other throughout this devastating time. Sharon has worked with a local artist, Gareth Ross (above), to design the cherry blossom tree. A local engineering firm, BR Engineering Ltd, has built the skeleton of the tree, and the team at CASB have been making paper blossoms.
Sharon and the team are going to build the tree from 1st September – 13 September 2021. They are asking members of the community to decorate wooden circles to reflect what they have experienced during the pandemic, what they have learnt about themselves during this difficult time, and what their hopes for the future are. There will also be wooden butterflies available for people to decorate if they have lost a loved one during the last 18 months. The decorations will be hung on the tree and people will be able to visit the Library and see the artwork displayed from 13th September – 27th September 2021.
Kerry Turner, CEO of CASB said: “Through our work we have seen how COVID-19 has impacted on the mental health of our community. People have lost loved ones, been isolated, felt frightened and lonelier than ever before. We hope that the opportunity to express their feelings through a piece of art will help to start the healing process and recovery from the shared trauma of the pandemic. The “Tree of Reflection” will give people a chance to express how COVID-19 has made them feel”.
Sharon Gates said: “This has been such a difficult time, in particular for anyone who has lost a loved one. People have not been able to attend funerals or have their friends and family around them to support them in their grief. We hope this initiative will help in a small way, and hopefully people will get some comfort from this shared experience”.