IMAGES of Winsford captured by young people have been unveiled in a new free outdoor exhibition.

The photographs are on display outside Store 21 at Winsford Cross Shopping Centre.

The pictures, taken by students from Winsford Academy on their smartphones, reflect their identity and the town.

It is all part of the Hope project, funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council's Winsford regeneration team.

Following the council’s purchase of the Winsford Cross Shopping Centre in February 2018, this exhibition marks the start of a number of installations designed to help raise the profile of the town centre and promote its future regeneration.

The energetic, forward-thinking project team is working with young people in Winsford to create a fun and action-packed Festival of Hope in Summer 2020.

Teenager Thomas Clare, who took some of the photographs, said: “I have really enjoyed this project and found it inspiring. I’ve learnt a lot more about the history of the area and interested to learn about different photographic techniques, such as lighting, perspectives and angles, which gave us the confidence to take these photos of the town.

"I am proud of our exhibition.”

Winsford Guardian:

CWAC council leader Cllr Louise Gittins opens the outdoor photography exhibition with Winsford Academy students who took part in the project, teachers, funder and youth worker

CWAC council leader Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for wellbeing, said: “This photography exhibition empowers the youth of the town, giving them a space to 'voice' their experiences in a way teenagers rarely get to do.

"In a world dominated by social media, it is also a fantastic way for teenagers to engage with other teenagers to discuss joint experiences, explore new ideas and have fun. We are very grateful for the enthusiasm and support of Winsford Academy.

“The free Hope Project is very welcoming and inclusive and I would encourage any Winsford teenager to give it a try. It is open to everyone and is supported by arts and heritage youth workers who are brimming with energy and enthusiasm to engage teenagers."

Amanda Harrison, principal of Winsford Academy, said: “I am very proud of our students for taking up the challenge of producing this photography exhibition. They have put in a lot of effort and thought to this project.

"We can all learn a lot about what these young people are feeling by looking carefully at these pictures. It is very important to engage young people in as many ways as possible, so that they can see what can be produced with effort and encouragement and to be reminded that their voices do matter to all of us.” .

The photography exhibition is the result of fun workshops run throughout the summer at which students from Winsford Academy worked with West Cheshire Museums and Open Eye Gallery to explore the heritage of their town.

Teenagers aged 14-15 years old identified areas of Winsford that were important to them, capturing them in hundreds of images using cameras and smartphones.

A process of careful picture selection resulted in this exhibition that reflects the young people’s identity and life growing up in Winsford by re-framing the town and offering a different youth-based perspective.

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The Hope Project welcomes anyone aged 13 to 16 years old from Winsford or the surrounding area who would like to get involved in developing a festival. For more information, contact lionsaltworks@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

The Winsford Hope Project, which has already produced an escape room challenge, is part of Hope Streets. This is a five-year project that seeks to revolutionise the way that museums connect with young people.

The plan is that it will act as a catalyst to recruit young people to take on leadership roles, along with participating museums, in the organisation of five Festivals of Hope in 2020.