Story behind the 30ft mural on city’s homeless service

An eye-catching 30ft mural has sprung up on the side of our homelessness support service known as Centre 28, on Terry Street in Hull.

Awaken mural at Centre 28 HullCentre 28, our 25-bed supported accommodation service, has recently unveiled a specially commissioned mural, called ‘Awaken’, designed by local young people who have experienced homelessness.

Painted by local artist Maniuko, the mural on Centre 28’s 3 storey building took around five weeks to complete and was funded by charity Church Homeless Trust.

‘Awaken’ features a large depiction of Buddha above white Japanese lilies, framed by a dream-like space background, as the young people involved in its design wanted to reflect and inspire hope, love and new life.

But they and Maniuko say the full interpretation of the piece is down to the individual seeing it.

The young people supported by Centre 28 took part in all aspects of the project – from helping Riverside staff to write a successful funding application to Church Homeless Trust, interviewing artists, assisting in the mural’s design, and working to erect it on the building itself.

Centre 28 provides support to young people aged 16 to 21 who are experiencing homelessness.

One of the young people involved in the design has, for the second time, been with Centre 28 for about six months.

Talking about his experience and the project, he said: “I didn’t really engage with the support first time around and it didn’t work out too well for me. This time though, I have engaged more with the staff at Centre 28, and in a few days, I’ll be picking up the keys to my new property. I’m buzzing!

“I wanted to get involved in the mural art project because I thought it would be cool to have some graffiti on the scheme. Graffiti art is a big thing in Hull and now we are part of it.

“When Vans, one of the support staff at Centre 28, first told us about it, we thought this would just be something the staff would sort but they didn’t get involved at all and left us to it. Maniuko really listened to us about our ideas – some were daft, some were never going to happen, but he listened, and he liked my idea of a spiritual Buddha and one of the other’s ideas about flowers.

“He came back with the final design, and it looked banging. Maniuko told us how he wanted it to show a different side to living in a hostel, about the journey we are on and the community and friendships we have in here. I never really thought about it like that.

“Seeing people stop and look at it rather than throw shade at the hostel is cool to see, and knowing I was part of creating it makes me feel good.”

Vans Braddock-Mead, Service Manager at Centre 28, added: “The piece at the side of our building is just fantastic.

“Church Homeless Trust continues to make a difference to the lives of customers at Riverside. We can’t thank them enough for providing the funding that enabled us to bring an incredible artist like Maniuko into the project – and who we hope to use again in the future for other pieces our customers have planned.

“But it’s the young people we support we’d really like to recognise. They have done a great job of working together to co-produce a design aimed at tackling negative stigmas surrounding homelessness services such as ours and spreading hope.

“And they have quite literally painted the picture that through quality support, young people who have experienced hardships can still achieve and have opportunities to engage with professionals and utilise their skills and creativity.

“Sadly, when people think about homelessness services, they may imagine bleak environments, so we’re pleased the young people we support have helped brighten our spaces up and created something positive in the community.”

Local street artist Maniuko has produced several works across the city, including ‘Have an Eye on It’ and ‘Plot or Notto Plot?’Have an eye on it - Maniuko artwork

Maniuko said: “We got involved in this project at Centre 28 because we want to help through art and the message it carries. When we heard “homeless” it was the feeling that this will be right project, not only for us, but also for those we are painting for. Lucy, my wife who I run our business with and who supported with the project, has experienced homelessness before, so knows how it is.

“We have worked with young people previously and find it inspiring as they are often full of ideas and do not have so many creative limits as adults can have.

“With this mural, once we had our ideas, we positioned our designs on the wall digitally, using bricks as a grid to help establish what went where. As it is bare brick, we used stabilising solution to bond the surface, then painted it with masonry paint and used spray cans for the rest.

“Initially, we didn’t expect this size of wall and thought it would be more of a workshop kind of thing, so the scale of the project was really exciting and has left us wanting to do more in terms of painting big walls and encouraging young people experiencing homelessness to be involved. In fact, the tenants at Centre 28 kept mentioning painting the whole building – in flowers, is one of their ideas – so they are clearly hooked and wanting more!

“The whole process for ‘Awaken’ wasn’t always so straightforward, mainly due to the weather and short days, but we’re extremely happy with the final result and hope each individual seeing it will be too.”

Centre 28 is a Hull City Council commissioned supported service proud to offer safe and secure accommodation to 25 individuals in the community who have experienced homelessness, alongside an Intensive Support service and a dedicated young person’s Floating Support Service citywide across Hull.

To find out more about Centre 28, contact [email protected]