Hedgehog rolls in to square
A GIANT hedgehog which has rolled into Staple Hill is just the start of a project to brighten up Fountain Square.
The hedgehog, nestling against a "ball games prohibited" sign on what was previously a big blank wall at the side of the square, was painted by Bristol street artist Irony over two days at the start of September.
And over the coming weeks the square's benches and the steps of the stage area are also due to be given a makeover by two more Bristol artists, Farrah Fortnam and Tozer Signs.
The attention-grabbing artwork is the result of a link up between Staple Hill Chamber of Trade and Bristol street art festival Upfest, and has been funded entirely from a grant of just under £5,000 awarded from South Gloucestershire Council's Help Us Thrive fund to help high streets recover from the pandemic.
Chamber of trade member Melody Beard, of the Bean Tree Cafe in Page Park, said the group negotiated with the building's landlord to allow the wall to be painted and Irony, whose work is in demand across the country, popped over from Weston-super-Mare, where he had been painting as part of the Weston Walls street art festival, to create the hedgehog.
Melody said: "Irony is one of the more well-respected artists on the street scene, and people who like street art come and find his work, so it could bring in some visitors.
"It's been a nice addition to the square, getting people to linger to appreciate it.
"I've already seen a lot of people enjoying the hedgehog, stopping to take pictures, and sharing them on Facebook online."
As well as the street art project, the Help Us Thrive grant money is also paying for the creation of an audio 'story walk' on a downloadable app, which people will be able to use on guided walks around Staple Hill High Street and Broad Street from next year.
Further art could be added to the square but only if more funding can be found.
The next event planned in Fountain Square is Christmas on the Hill, which is due to happen over the first weekend in December.