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Rainbow competition to help raise awareness of lockdown loneliness

PEOPLE are being asked to enter a competition to help create a family-friendly Southampton-wide sculpture trail consisting of 100 rainbows carved from upcycled materials symbolising a sign of hope (June 2020).

The rainbows will be painted with entrants’ winning designs and annotated with stories and poems. The closing date is June 21 and the competition links with national Loneliness Awareness Week starting June 15.

Stuart Shaw from Robert Rose Carpentry, who is organising the competition and creating the trail along with his project partner, artist and creative, Jack Irwin, explains: “We’ve been given the green light by Southampton City Council for an arts project across Southampton and we’re now raising money to fund this project.

“Any additional funds raised will go to Communicare, which is a friendly, neighbourhood charity that enriches the lives of lonely and isolated people in and around the city.

“It linked closely with the objectives of our project, namely giving people hope and a connection with others to avoid loneliness.”

The trail’s winning rainbows will be unveiled on June 29. It will then be open for people to follow in Southampton’s central parks in July and August. The organisers believe it could be the largest public display of art Southampton has ever seen.

Jack says: “Now more than ever a sense of community is needed to uplift the spirits of those alone, those who have lost their incomes and who have lost family.”

The Rainbow Trail will consist of 100 Rainbows, carved from up-cycled scaffold board, and printed with designs primarily from Southampton residents. The rainbows will be located all over Southampton as a sign of hope after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Each rainbow will have a QR code, which people can scan to ‘capture the rainbow’ and read the attached stories and poems, which will reflect the various emotions experienced throughout these difficult times.

Anyone can submit a rainbow design, a story or both. The top 100 rainbow designs selected by The Rainbow Trail competition committee, will be printed onto up-cycled material and displayed in the city parks for up to 10 weeks.

To find out more about the trail, please visit and to enter a rainbow, story or poem for the competition, please visit The closing date for entries is Sunday, June 21.

Communicare’s Manager, Annie Clewlow, says: “We’re delighted that Stuart and Jack have selected us to partner with them on this wonderful initiative. It’s such a great idea and it’s perfect for us, as it links in with our work to eradicate loneliness and isolation in Southampton. The competition also links in with Loneliness Awareness Week, a Marmalade Trust initiative, starting on Monday, June 15.

“It’s also very apt following the recently released results of the Office for National Statistics Opinions and Lifestyle Survey about lockdown loneliness. It uses results from April 3 to May 3. Of those asked, 30.9% (7.4 million adults) reported their well-being had been affected through feeling lonely.”

Communicare’s Good Neighbours’ Network normally supports nearly 400 individuals/families annually, covering more than 2,300 tasks including one-to-one befriending, transport to activities, such as the regular lunch clubs and tea parties it hosted before the lockdown and shopping for, or, pre-COVID-19, with, those it helps.

“Our services are staffed by our committed, kind-hearted Communiteers, who volunteer to give their time freely. They act as good neighbours, generously making regular befriending telephone calls and doing shopping for those unable to leave home at the moment, as well as providing other practical and emotional support.”

Normally its services are linked to hosting face-to-face social events, such as regular lunches and tea parties for service users, but the charity, understandably, is unable to organise these currently due to the pandemic.

“We can’t socialise with our service users in person or get them together in the same way now, so we have launched a range of new support activities to fill the gap, predominantly using telephone and postal services, in recognition of the fact that lots of the people we support are not digitally connected.”

To find out more about Communicare, please visit

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