New mural provides colourful ‘thank you’ to city’s key workers

Lenton and Wollaton East ward members from left to right: Cllr David Trimble, Cllr Sally Longford, and Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis with artist Elliott Caine, far right.

A new mural brightening the Crown Island underpass will give a lasting ‘thank you’ to key workers in the city.

The underpass, part of National Cycle Network 6, is on the ring road route connecting QMC and City Hospital, and has been used regularly by key workers walking and cycling during the pandemic.

This weekend, local artist Elliott Caine put the finishing touches to the rainbow-based design – which also features bicycles inspired by Raleigh – supported by volunteers from Community Action Nottingham, students from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.

The work has been funded using part of a transport grant from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, aimed at improving the ring road cycle route, including improving the condition of the Crown Island underpass.

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Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader at Nottingham City Council and ward member for Lenton and Wollaton East, said: “We wanted to make the underpass more welcoming, especially as we’re encouraging more people to try cycling.

“This is the final stage in the upgrade of cycling facilities in the area, and is also a well-used short cut for pedestrians. Replacing short car journeys with active travel will help toward our ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2028, and it means we can all breathe cleaner air, and enjoy the benefits to our health.

“We hope people will enjoy looking at the artwork when it’s safe to get out and about again. This is fantastic work by a local artist creating a long-lasting message of thanks to the incredible dedication of our key workers, and I’d like to say thank you to everyone involved.”

To celebrate the use of bikes by NHS staff to travel between QMC and City Hospital, and to thank all key workers, this section of the cycle route will be known as the ‘Thank You Rainbow Cycle Route’, with the mural complemented by updates to existing signage along the path.

Portfolio Holder for Transport Cllr Adele Williams on the cycle route
Portfolio Holder for Transport Cllr Adele Williams on the cycle route

Andrew Chatten, Director of Estates and Facilities Management at Nottingham University Hospital Trust, said: “We are thrilled at the dedication of the rainbow route to our key workers. Cycling plays an extremely important role here at NUH, not just in terms of providing a sustainable means of travel for staff but also, more recently, a safe alternative to less socially distanced commutes such as car sharing.

“We hope that going forwards this route is enjoyed by all and encourages more members of the community to take up active travel.”

The original idea for the mural was to recognise the city’s cycling heritage – iconic Raleigh bikes were manufactured nearby on what is now the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee campus. After the onset of the pandemic last year, the council also wanted to take the opportunity to thank all key workers, especially given the significance of this route connecting the city’s two hospitals.

Artist Elliott Caine said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work on such a meaningful project that not only means a great deal to the local community but to those nationwide. I’m proud to have taken this project from initial concept through the design process and finally painting with my amazing team, and look forward to future projects.”

Volunteers put the finishing touches to the mural