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Pots of Happiness are Kind Way to Celebrate Stalybridge

If you find a small, colourful, ceramic pot while you’re out and about in Staybridge town centre, take a look inside.

You’ll find something that’s bound to lift your spirits on World Happiness Day (Wednesday, March 20) and the five days following – a suggested act of kindness.

All 150 pots have been created by creative hub Phantasmagoria. Sealed with a cork and topped with wax flowers, they will be hidden indoors and outdoors around Stalybridge Heritage Action Zone.

People are encouraged to look for the pots, open them, and then carry out the act of kindness they discover, or perform one of their own. Finders can keep their pot or hide it again for someone else.

Suggested good turns include asking someone how their day was and really listening to the answer, starting a box collection for a food bank, giving a compliment, or even being kind to yourself. When we’re happy we’re more likely to be kind to others. 

As well as World Happiness Day, the pots celebrate the life and values of Ada Summers (1861-1944), a member of the famous steelworking family, who was Stalybridge’s first female councillor and mayor – later appointed a freeman of the borough; the first British woman to sit as a magistrate, and one of the first to become a justice of the peace.

Cllr Vimal Choksi, Tameside Council’s executive member for towns and communities, said: “What better way to celebrate World Happiness Day than this innovative art installation? Nothing’s guaranteed to cheer you up more than doing a good turn for someone.

“I’m sure many people will come into Stalybridge to look for these colourful little pots which could be anywhere in the heritage action zone. Many thanks to Phantasmagoria for coming up with such as great idea.”

Ann Gilligan from Phantasmagoria said: “When we were asked to create the project, we knew we had to include Ada – or Lady Bountiful as she was known. She an amazing figure that everyone should hear about.

“The other inspiration was Mary Shadbolt, a community worker, environmentalist, and beeswax artist, and the mum and grandma of two of our workshop participants, Amy and Florence. 

“After Mary died, they donated lots of her art materials including the beautiful pots. 

“Using these items seemed a perfect legacy for Mary and also ties into Phantasmagoria’s ethos of using repurposed, recycled and environmentally friendly materials.”

The pots also include a note explaining that the project was inspired by Ada Summers and a link for more information. Anyone who finds one is encouraged to share pictures on social media by tagging @InTameside. 

Stalybridge High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) – which runs along Market Street up to the train station and includes the Civic Hall – has been created to help restore the town’s character, encourage people to spend more time in the historic centre, and recognise Stalybridge’s rich heritage. 

The HAZ project is a partnership between Historic England and Tameside Council and an area of regeneration and investment that covers part of Stalybridge town centre conservation area to promote economic, social and cultural regeneration.

Find out more at www.intameside.co.uk/potsofkindness 

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