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Blog | 20 November 2023

The Big Picture: A Scouts mural is unveiled in the Wirral

Alanah Reid, Creative Content Producer and Karen Currums, Local Growth Officer

In the heart of the Wirral, a huge mural celebrating Scouts has been painted proudly in Brighton Street, Wallasey. With the Wirral Scouts logo, #SkillsForLife strapline and two Scouts chatting around a campfire, it’s a fitting tribute to Scouts in their local community.

On 4 November, Wirral Scouts came together to celebrate Scouts in their District, toast marshmallows, and most importantly, unveil their new 72 square metre mural.

After young people and Local Growth Officer, Karen Currums, chose a design for the mural, local artist Paul Curtis spent 10 days painting on the side of a Care & Community building – an organisation empowering 16–21-year-olds to learn life skills after leaving the care system.

As well as the artist Paul Curtis, Wirral Scouts were joined by Jerry Williams (Wirral Mayor), Sean Conway (Scouts Adventurer) and Liz Henderson (Chief Commissioner of England) to reveal the finished mural for the first time.

It was a particularly special day for Scouts and volunteers in the area. They were delighted to see the finished mural and felt especially proud to be Wirral Scouts.

The image shows the Wirral Scouts mural, painted on the side of a brick building. The photo has been taken from the street, and there is a yellow bus stop and lamp post next to a hedge in front of the mural. The photo aims to show the size of the mural to someone walking down the street.
View of the Wirral Scouts mural from the street. Photo taken by Sean Conway.

The meaning behind the mural

Karen had been thinking about ways to make Wirral Scouts more visible. She thought, ‘How many people truly know Scouts meet on a Tuesday night to give young people skills for life and positively impact the local community?’

Together, they wanted to recognise Wirral Scouts’ achievements over the years, show the movement as relevant and active, and hopefully encourage their community to find out more.

A mural seemed like the perfect way to attract attention, celebrate the movement and hopefully increase the fantastic work Scouts is doing in the IMD-1 area, where opportunities for young people are needed most.

The painting shows two Scouts, Birkenhead Explorer Jack and West Wirral Scout Beatrice, sharing a joyful moment around a campfire. It truly represents the warmth and friendship of Scouts.

The artist and location

Paul Curtis is an experienced mural painter, who’s well known in the Merseyside area. When Karen told him about the history of Scouts in the Wirral District, he was inspired and very keen to paint the mural.

With a design in mind and an artist on board, the next step was to decide a location. Karen told us they chose the wall of the Care & Community building, who help teenagers adjust to life after being in care.

‘Where better to paint a Scouts mural than on the side of an organisation’s building who are also supporting young people?’ said Karen. ‘It’s the perfect merging of two youth-oriented organisations doing fantastic work in the community, especially since community partnerships are a key objective in the Wirral Growth Project.’

The image shows Merseyside-based artist, Paul Curtis, drawing on a whiteboard. The whiteboard is on a green wall, and there are a few Scouts facing him as he writes on the board. Together, they're coming up with ideas for the Wirral Scouts mural.
Local artist Paul Curtis came together with Scouts to come up with an idea for the mural.

Led by young people

Young people were involved in the project every step of the way. It was important the project was youth shaped from the start.

‘I was very keen to get youth voice into the project,’ said Karen. ‘I created and sent a survey to all Wirral Groups. I asked them to build it into their programmes by explaining the project and asking the young people what they’d like the mural to look like.’

Karen asked questions like:

  • What values should we be trying to show in our Scouts mural?
  • What do we want people to think and feel when they look at it?
  • Who do we want in the mural?
  • What would you paint?

In total, Karen got 102 responses through the survey and visiting local groups.

I want people to feel like they want to be a part of it, feel safe and invited in.

Wirral Cub

I would paint a cub camp with a campfire and marshmallows.

Wallasey Cub

The image shows six different drawings by young Scouts, who are all coming up with ideas for the Wirral Scouts mural. All the drawings have been done by hand using colour pens and pencils.
Some ideas for the mural, as drawn by young people in the area.

Young people chosen

Jack and Beatrice were the two members chosen to be in the finished piece. It represents a special Scouts moment – enjoying a chat around a warming campfire and making friends and memories.

Jack and Beatrice met only 10 minutes before the concept photoshoot and they got on immediately. This is what happens when you’re a Scout. You share pride of being a part of something bigger and you feel confident that you’re accepted and this makes meeting new people and making friends easier. Before you know it, you’re sat around a campfire with someone you’ve only just met, playing rock, paper scissors and sharing Scout adventure stories. Even when the photoshoot had finished, we couldn’t stop them chatting. Friends for life!

Karen Currums, Local Growth Officer

In the image, Sean Conway stands with artist Paul Curtis in front of the Wirral Scouts mural. Sean's wearing a red white and navy necker and is stood next to Paul on his right hand side. Both are smiling at the camera.
Sean Conway stands with artist Paul Curtis in front of the Wirral Scouts mural.

As well as the Scouts themselves making friends, Jack being 17 years old made the mural an even greater connection with Care & Community Ltd, who care for young people the same age.

With a design created, Paul Curtis picked up his paintbrush on 23 October and started bringing the mural to life.

I was over the moon to represent Scouts. I love Scouts – it’s so much fun and we get to do so many exciting things.

Beatrice, Scout from West Wirral

I’ve been a part of the Wirral Scouts community for 10 years now. I’ve learned a lot of valuable skills while having fun too. My biggest Scouts achievement was being selected and fundraising to attend the 25th World Scout Jamboree in South Korea this Summer, where I met Scouts from all over the world and have made some great friends.

Jack, Explorer from Birkenhead

Chief Commissioner for England, Liz Henderson, stands in between Beatrice and Jack, the two Scouts featured in the Wirral Scouts mural. They're stood in front of the mural in Scout uniform and are smiling at the camera.
Liz Henderson stands with Beatrice and Jack, the two Scouts featured in the mural.

The big unveiling

With the mural finished and ready to be admired, Scouts from across the District gathered together to unveil the mural.

Lots of young people came early to help set up for the event. Once everything was ready, they headed into Care & Community Ltd to learn more about the work they do.

Around 75 people came for the unveiling. They enjoyed food and beverages, while listening to Sean Conway and Liz Henderson say a few words.

Scouts provides such an important avenue for kids to learn essential skills for life. I’m really proud to support the great work they do. Scouts needs volunteers, so if you have the time, please do consider it. Today I was lucky enough to unveil a mural by the brilliant @paulcurtisartwork in Wirral which epitomises a snapshot of being in Scouts – sitting around a campfire laughing with friends.

Sean Conway, Scout Adventurer

The Explorers decided to become ‘Explorer Reporters’ for the day, asking the attendees what they thought of the mural. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

One Explorer asked Liz Henderson what she thought of the mural. She replied ‘I think it’s fabulous and really eye catching – it’s huge, you can’t fail to see it. I think it really demonstrates how we can collaborate together and the essence of what Scouts is all about.'

Another Explorer reflected on meeting Sean Conway, saying 'It was a really nice experience meaning Sean. I was inspired by his unmatched work ethic and his determination that if he has a goal he will hold to it, such as his astonishing 105 Ironmans in 105 days, which is unheard of.'

Working with Paul on this mural has been a dream. We’ve a huge number of Scouts right across the region, but to keep doing the work we’re doing, we need to rely on adult volunteers. We hope Paul’s amazing mural will spark the imagination of local people and inspire them to help Scouts realise their potential. We had a fantastic day bringing the community together for the unveiling and celebrating all the brilliant work our Scouts and volunteers do every day. We’re delighted with the mural and extremely grateful to Paul for providing us with a lasting legacy for the Wirral Scouts.

Karen Currums, Local Growth Officer

A truly inspiring story

A huge thank you to Karen Currums for sharing the story with us. We’ve loved hearing about the fantastic Wirral mural.

We hope it inspires the community to get involved in Scouts and makes young people and volunteers feel proud.

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