During the first lockdown Tarporley Parish Council recruited local residents to set up a volunteer task force to support the community during this unprecedented time. Over 130 residents responded and a local helpline – operating 7 days a week supporting prescriptions, shopping, mental health and medical needs was established. To ensure that all residents, not just those connected to the internet, knew what local support was available to them a communications team was also set up – delivering fortnightly newsletters packed with information on local support from the community and local business. Eveleigh Moore Dutton – our local Councillor – started using the sunflower as an emblem of positivity and unity in her online communiques and the group built on this with its own Sunflower Initiative, a Community Project to build morale and illustrate a strong community pulling together in adversity.

Enigma Holdings and Tarporley Parish Council funded the purchase of 3500 sunflower seeds, these were distributed to all local households and the Sunflower Project began to bloom. Local gardeners grew additional seedlings and volunteers built planters to create Sunflower Central in the middle of Tarporley – a major visitor attraction throughout the summer of 2020. Two resident artists Rachel Davies & Rachael Carr extended the idea to include a local art initiative – with almost 200 entries from 8 months to 93 years of age! An amazing art installation was created to showcase all entered artwork in shop windows up and down Tarporley High St and there is now a framed gallery for these pictures on display at Tarporley Community Centre.

This all culminated in an amazing Sunflower Celebration Day on August 1st 2020 – crowning the Tallest Sunflower winners, hosting a Family Treasure Trail, and presenting the Artwork awards. Commemorative tea towels featuring all the submitted designs have been created as a lasting memento of a community coming together in optimism and positivity. The Sunflower Initiative was always envisaged as a ‘morale booster’ rather than a means of fundraising but when a fundraising element was proposed it was unanimously voted to support Tarporley War Memorial Hospital as thet urgently needed funds to survive and prosper and as recognition to the hospital and NHS for all their endeavors throughout this Covid-19 crisis. Sales of the Sunflower Tea Towels have raised £3,379 on the online platform and additional revenue has been generated through sales via The Vintage Charity Shop.

We would like to thank everyone that has been involved in the Stay Sunny Tarps Community Initiative. We feel very lucky to have had your support and you should feel very proud of the contribution you have made.

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