Community projects put the gloss on Ashington launchPosted: 25 September 2017
Despite only officially launching its new £100 million facility in Ashington on 12 September, leading global paint manufacturer AkzoNobel has already made a positive impact on the local community.
Throughout the construction and commissioning phases of the new plant, AkzoNobel Ashington has been actively engaging in a number of community projects as part of the company’s Dulux Smarter Spaces and Human Cities initiatives.
The AkzoNobel Human Cities initiative is about bringing colour to urban environments and celebrating local heritage and history within communities.
“This is what we are trying to achieve in Ashington,” said Jeff Hope, head of manufacturing unit at AkzoNobel in Ashington.
“We are passionate about the local area, its people, places and history and we want AkzoNobel to become a part of that.”
As part of an ongoing Ashington Town Council project to rejuvenate the town centre, AkzoNobel, in partnership with Ashington Town Team, commissioned two artists to paint commemorative murals on the gable ends at each side of Station Road that celebrate Ashington as a place to live and work and its rich cultural heritage.
The artists, Jo Peel and Chiba Creative each came up with three concepts for the murals which were then put to a public vote to see which ones would be brought to life in Ashington town centre.
“Bringing colour into people’s lives is a huge part of AkzoNobel’s Human Cities Initiative so we were incredibly excited to deliver these pieces of beautiful artwork to the town,” Jeff said.
“The finished murals, which can be viewed now, will be a lasting demonstration to the people of Ashington that AkzoNobel is in the community to stay and that we are committed to helping make the town a more colourful place. We hope that local artists might be inspired to create more murals to brighten up the area, maybe even kick off an art trail for Ashington.”
AkzoNobel has also been involved with a project at Bothal Primary School, near the company’s new state-of-the-art plant at Ashwood Business Park, as part of an initiative to help bring the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) suite to life.
Dulux Smarter Spaces is AkzoNobel’s campaign to improve teaching and learning environments through thoughtful and inclusive design. This is a collaborative process during which AkzoNobel works with teachers and children to create spaces that are inspiring and beautiful for everyone who uses them.
Dulux Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford, visited the school prior to the summer holidays to deliver a Smarter Spaces colour workshop.
“The children of Bothal Primary School were amazing and really fun to work with. I talked to them about what colour meant to them, which colours they found inspiring and what kinds of things they associated with different colours. They then got involved by creating palettes of colours which captured their interpretation of what it is to be creative, clever, happy and interested,” Marianne said.
The Dulux Colour Studio team then distilled the colours they chose into a decorating scheme that brought their STEM classroom and corridors to life.
“The spaces were decorated during the school’s summer holidays so they had a wonderful surprise on their first day back at school. The Smarter Spaces approach to design and decoration is such a positive experience for everyone involved and the results look good, will last longer thanks to AkzoNobel formulated paint technology and make everyone feel proud, knowing they played an important part in it,” added Marianne.
Andy Roberts, executive principal at Bothal Primary School, said:
“The children were really excited to work with AkzoNobel, the ‘big new factory in town’.
“The whole experience was really well executed and the children were absolutely delighted with the finished result and to see their colour choices on the walls.
“On behalf of all of the staff and pupils at Bothal Primary School, we’d like to thank AkzoNobel for the fantastic memories made and we hope to invite them back to visit our new ‘Inspiration’ STEM suite in the near future.”
David Hass, Director of Communications at AkzoNobel UK, said:
“Engaging with the local communities in which our manufacturing units operate is incredibly important to AkzoNobel.
“We feel that it is our responsibility as a large employer with a global presence to use our influence to help make the world a better, more colourful place.
“The projects that AkzoNobel has been involved in during the run-up to the Ashington launch truly embody the spirit of our Human Cities and Smarter Spaces initiatives.”
To find out more about AkzoNobel, visit www.akzonobel.com.