What is Project Happy?

Project Happy is a campaign by Barons Quay and Cheshire West and Chester Council, bringing positivity to Northwich post lockdown. This exciting new project will include a series of engaging street artworks and initiatives to reward the Northwich charities and individuals that have helped local people during the outbreak.

North West artist Emma Evans is working with us to bring colour the shopping centre as well as the streets of Northwich, with three original artworks.

Lina Higuita, Centre Manager at Barons Quay said: “The aim of Project Happy is to embrace all the positive things about Northwich, whether that’s our heritage or the spirit which local people have shown throughout the coronavirus outbreak. We know that this has been an incredibly difficult time for local people and businesses and so we are aiming to bring positivity to the town and celebrate local heroes over the next few months.”

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth said: “The past few months have been challenging for us all and some more than others. The full impact of Coronavirus on our communities and economy are not yet known, but despite all of this it’s important that we can look to a future beyond this crisis.

“Whilst we are isolated or restricted in our movements, we are still part of a wider community and we need to seize opportunities to remember that. People in Northwich are so proud of the town and this project is about using that positivity to create something for everyone to enjoy, as soon as they are safely able to do so. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished murals for myself.”

The story so far…

In June we launched an art competition, asking children in Northwich to draw what makes them happy! The prize for the winning picture? To be included in Emma’s mural at Barons Quay and a £100 shopping voucher for The Entertainer! We had hundreds of entries and although it was very tough for the judges, we shortlisted 5 runner-ups and one winner, which was Jude Cole and his picture of his pet dog, Buddy. You can find out more about the competition here.

When non-essential shops started to open again in June, artist Emma Evans came to Barons Quay to bring colour and positive messaging to the windows and columns around the centre. Visitors have enjoyed seeing the artworks and have even started posing in front of them!

In July we joined forces with the Northwich BID to search for Northwich Heroes, local people who went that extra mile to help others during lockdown.  The nominations flooded in and we were overwhelmed by the positive stories that came out of such a difficult time.  Again, the judges had a tough time selecting the winners, but in the end Laura Clifton, John and Julia Griffiths, Daniel Pendlebury and Sarah Lees all received a certificate and £100 shopping vouchers for their hard work. You can read their story here.

In August, Emma started work on the huge 5m x 10m Project Happy mural at Barons Quay…


At the start of September the artwork, entitled ‘We’re in this together’ was unveiled!

Inspired by the people and landmarks of Northwich the mural includes the River Weaver, Lion Salt Works and the Anderton Boat Lift.

Emma’s brief was to bring colour, inspiration and hope to local residents, giving them something fun to engage with following the coronavirus outbreak.

The design also includes the work of our competition winner Jude Cole, and the names of the Northwich Heroes on the trunk of the tree.

Large rainbows and sunbeams represent the dawn of a new area for the town, with the tree symbolising solid roots and new growth for Northwich.  The trunk pays tribute to local people with famous faces and the Northwich Heroes names written into the design.

The picture includes five umbrellas representing Happiness, Love, Bright Ideas, Hope and Wisdom, that are positioned at different heights. Passers by are invited to stand under the umbrella that best suits their mood and take pictures.

We are now inviting  people to share their images of the artwork for a chance to win shopping vouchers.  Each month the best picture will receive a £50 voucher for a Barons Quay store of their choice. For a chance to win images should be shared on on social media using #ProjectHappy and tagging in @BaronsQuay on Facebook or Instagram and @barons_quay on Twitter.

You can read the full story about the artwork here.

What next?

The Barons Quay mural may be completed but there will also be another two other engaging artworks appearing in Northwich town centre this year, so watch this space!

We are also planning to work with local charities who have played an important role in our community during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Follow us on social media for updates @BaronsQuay and @barons_quay on Twitter.