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Flock to Rossall Beach

Rossall Beach

One of most successful forms of eco-action on the Fylde coast is community beach groups.  There is Friends of The Estuary at Lytham, and Love My Beach covering St Annes and Blackpool seafront. Further north Rossall Beach Community Group are probably the longest standing and most active of all, and in conjunction with LeftCoast and art group Invisible Flock they have been diversifying into art over the last 18 months. This weekend the fruits of this collaboration begin to be unveiled to the wider public, with a celebration event on Sunday preceding a week of other activities.

In 2015 the Rossall Beach Group, in partnership with LeftCoast, began to explore how they could commission an artist to develop a creative response to their much-loved local beach. In particular looking at the work they do on their monthly beach cleans and how people respond to the beach. The group developed a brief that was advertised nationally to see how artists might work with them.

Feathered artwork
Feathered artwork

In early 2016 the group invited Leeds based artist collective Invisible Flock to work with them to deliver their vision.  Inspired by the work of the Rossall Beach cleaning group, the artists decided to see how they could directly respond to the plastic that is washed up on the beach. The group, together with the artists asked the people of Cleveleys to donate their unwanted plastic containers and send them a special message in a bottle.

Discarded Things is a creative response to the prediction that by 2050 there will be more items plastic in the sea than fish. Using brand new technology the artists have built a machine to grind up plastics, turned this into printing filament and used a 3D printer to create new objects from these discarded objects. After observing the uses and changes of the beach, the project has now culminated in the creation of two beautiful birds which have been inscribed with messages from the community.

The birds have a perch out on the beach, and when the tide comes in they will appear to float above the surface of the water, responding to the elements and gently glowing. As with many of the other birds that live on Rossall Beach, when the weather is bad, or the tide is too high they will retreat in land to take shelter, returning to their perch when the conditions allow.

The launch on Sunday is a chance to see the birds up close before they fly off their new perch on the beach.  It starts at 1pm and finishes at 4pm. You can visit the pop up cabin on Rossall Prom, which is at the far end of the car park, to discover all about the Discarded Things project. There will be a chance to meet the artists, view the exhibition, craft activity for all the family, music and food as well as an opportunity to learn all about the work of the Rossall Beach Buddies.

From the 12 September to 21 September, the pop up cabin will also be hosting a programme of exciting activity exploring the themes of recycling and reusing, ranging from arts workshops to finding out how to get involved in local beach cleans. Full details of the thirteen events can be found on the LeftCoast website. Most events are of a drop in nature, but on September 16 between 6.30 and 8.30pm there will be a showing of the ‘Bag It’ movie by Aunty Social which has limited spaces. This award winning documentary looks at the economics and environmental issues relating to society’s reliance on plastic bags. To book on this event please contact Laura Jamieson ([email protected]).

Chair of the Rossall Beach Group Jane Littlewood said: “This project is a great way for us to raise awareness of a big problem and at the same time attract people to our group and showcase the work which our volunteers carry out throughout the year. Our individual actions can have a big impact on the environment and by making small changes we can each contribute towards making big improvements, for our wildlife and environment and for our own individual pleasure too.”

You can find out more about the group at rossallbeach.org.uk or on Facebook at Rossall Beach Buddies.

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