Spreading hope through art: the Horsham Y Centre mural - YMCA DownsLink Group

Spreading hope through art: the Horsham Y Centre mural

Adam and Carrie presenting their artwork. The mural is a brown tree trunk with green leaves and butterflies surrounding it

Last month brought a burst of colour, art and creativity to our 24-hour supported accommodation in Horsham, as a special mural was painted inside the atrium. The mural depicts a grand tree surrounded by lots of butterflies soaring around the room. This artwork not only brightens up the Y Centre but it also carries an important message.


The mural’s theme is based around hope, resilience, and positive new beginnings. All of the butterflies on the mural have been left blank so residents can fill in their own and write a message of hope or encouragement that will stay on the wall for years to come. The idea is that the young people have a sense of ownership and pride in this project, and they will be able to write something positive for future residents to read when they first move in, or even some words of encouragement to themselves that they will see each time they pass through the room.

This heartwarming initiative came from Carrie and Adam who both work at Assurity Consulting, a local workplace compliance, health and safety consultancy business in Horsham. They told us:

“Every employee gets one day a year to give back to the local community and make a difference. Today is our wonderful day this year.

We chose YMCA DownsLink Group because it’s a really important part of the local community. We could see the great work that’s being done here and some of our colleagues who helped out here last year met some residents and left wanting to do more. As a company, we believe in helping local people and making a difference in the place you are living.

Mel spoke to some of the residents here about what kind of thing they might like and what they wanted to do with the space. I think the design for the trees and butterflies was an idea put forward by the residents. The butterflies were to represent that when people leave, they leave with a new lease of life. A lot of residents don’t have the best starts in life but hopefully when they leave here they have a better grounding and a positive future ahead.

It’s really important for the young people to feel like they’ve got some form of ownership over the artwork and making the artwork a collaboration, not just us painting it and leaving.  The residents have been really involved this afternoon. I think it’s nice for them to do some art and have some fun.”

A group of 6 young residents painting and helping with the artwork for the new mural

The day of painting was really memorable as residents and staff joined Carrie and Adam to create the artwork. Everyone got really stuck in, carefully painting for hours, chatting away or concentrating in silence. Mel, Deputy Project Manager, kept up the energy by kindly providing snacks, drinks and pizza for everyone to enjoy. By the afternoon, the once bare walls had been transformed into a beautiful painting with a powerful positive message.

As soon as they could, the residents started to personalise their butterflies. Each resident carefully selected their colours and got to work. It was great to see a variety of artwork and styles appear on the wall. There are some very talented artists living at our Horsham Y Centre!

Adam thoughtfully left a stencil behind so residents can create more butterflies whenever they wish. This way, the mural will continue to grow and evolve. It’s has already become a point of pride for the young residents, instilling in them a sense of ownership over their space. It symbolises their creativity, resilience, and positive outlook for the future. As the young people move on to the next phase of their lives, they will leave a part of themselves behind, inspiring those who come after them.

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YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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