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How ‘Faces of Farsley’ is bringing community together during lockdown

Since the start of lockdown and #StayAtHome there have been many ways to celebrate and thank our local heroes, writes James Corah.

Communities have been coming together to express their gratitude to key workers, NHS staff, and those individuals “working hard to keep the world turning”. 

Faces of Farsley is a community art project initiated by the owners behind Grumpy’s Bar + Wood Fired Pizza in Farsley.

They’ve set about creating little personal ‘thank you’ stickers to be placed around the streets of their village, with the aim of lifting local spirits. 

Miss Vincent is a teacher at Farsley Springbank Primary School.

Each sticker displays a personal thank you message along with a portrait celebrating the individual for their hard work.

There are three ways to get involved: nominate a local hero and the project will create and print a sticker; draw and send them a portrait to be turned into a sticker; or volunteer as a Face of Farsley artist and help turn nominations into portraits.

The project has been supported by Leeds Printing Company.

Alex Rogerson of Grumpy’s Bar + Wood Fired Pizza in Farsley, explains how the community art project came about.

How did the project come about?

For us, starting Faces of Farsley was a way of doing something in the community, whilst hopefully creating something that anyone can get involved in!

Farsley has always had such an amazing community spirit, everyone is so supportive of each other and we were really missing engaging with people on a regular basis. 

The kids had all been drawing rainbows and displaying them in their windows so that got us thinking about how we could adapt the concept into a more personal thank you to individuals.

What has the reaction been around Farsley?

We actually worried that it wouldn’t catch on, we knew it was a nice idea but that maybe we were asking too much of people, especially when it came to drawing the portraits. I had visions of me having to draw them all myself!

But we’ve had an amazing response! Within a couple of days we had nominations for midwives, delivery drivers, teachers, postal workers, shop workers and food suppliers. It’s been lovely to chat with everyone via instagram and read all of the personal nominations.

Farsley midwife – and key worker – Trish has been thanked for her work.

How many nominations have you received?

So far we’ve had over 30 nominations and 25 portraits back, and still more coming in! Most of the people who have given their time to the project have never met the faces they’re drawing (and some have never drawn a portrait before!). It’s amazing to see.

We have a target of 36 to get to before we can print and get them out onto the streets, we’re hoping we’ll have achieved this by next week! 

Our friend Mike at Leeds Printing Company has offered to help us out with some of the cost of the print, which is so generous and kind, we couldn’t afford it without his help.

We’ve also had some murals printed on giant decals which we hope to get up on business windows on the high street as soon as possible.

They’ve been designed by the incredible local illustrators, Nick Dixon, Amy Hodkin and Leah Rose, who have volunteered their time and skills to create three special messages to lift the community spirit. We can’t wait for everyone to see them!

grumpys farsley sunny bank mills
Grumpy’s is situated off Town Street in Farsley

How has Grumpy’s been since the start of lockdown?

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster for us, much like every business I guess! Whilst it was for the best, having to close our doors after working so hard for the last three years was quite emotional! 

We had a couple of weeks off to quarantine along with everyone else and took the time to create a plan of how we could keep the business going. 

We’ve been operating as a collection-only take away for the last six weeks now, and the support from our customers has been unbelievable. 

We created a five-minute time slot ordering system to ensure social distancing for our customers and team, and it’s worked really well. 

It’s allowed us to keep paying the rent and bills, so we’re really grateful and can’t thank everyone enough for sticking with us!

Grumpy’s is opening for an additional two days, Wednesday – Saturday, starting this week. All going well it will mean that we can bring some of our team members back off furlough permanently.

It may also mean we can start to pay ourselves a little too, fingers crossed it’s a success! 

Find Faces of Farsley on Instagram. Grumpy’s are offering a collection service: Grumpy’s | Bar + Wood Fired Pizza, Leeds.

Pictured in the top image is Zulfi Hussain, who runs Deeva restaurant in Farsley. The restaurant has been cooking meals for NHS workers during the pandemic, among other things.

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