A giant puppet is leading Christmas celebrations in Croxteth with a spectacular display telling the real stories of life for young people.
Jude the Giant, an 18 feet tall puppet ,will be parading through the Stonedale estate on December 15 to light up a Christmas tree as tall as herself and launch a Christmas fair.
The Christmas spectacular is the culmination of a project involving artist Joann Kushner who worked with young people, engaging primary and secondary schools, Stonedale Lodge residential and nursing home and the wider community.
During the parade Jude the Giant will be dressed in a coat of light and warm winter presents knitted by Stonedale Lodge residents. She will follow St John Bosco’s Samba band through the estate and will be followed by the children from St Swithin’s Primary School with twinkling baubles to decorate the tree. Children from Croxteth Primary will sing carols while the tree is prepared with their lights.
Surrounding the tree will be fresh Christmas fruit, veg from Croxteth’s Larkins farm and hand-made goods. The event will be documented by De La Salle’s media students
Joann was commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to work in partnership with Alt Valley Community Trust, Neighbourhood Services Company (NSC), Cobalt Housing, local councillors and supported by Merseyside Play Action Council. This was as a direct result of her Welcome to My World exhibition at Tate Liverpool earlier this year and the commission was to take a closer look at police and community relations throughout the city.
“When the project first began young people used photography to explore their worlds and identify reasons why they were being stopped for standing on street corners, riding their bikes on the pavement and playing football in the street.
“Initially the police got the blame for all of this, but the deeper they looked, they found that if a member of the public makes a complaint then the police have no choice but to act, this then leads to tensions between both parties, raises the fear of crime amongst older residents when they see young people getting stopped and it and leaves young people and children vulnerable” said Joann.
“Jude the Giant will light up the estate for Christmas to show the beauty and spirit of the children on Stonedale and the kindness and generosity of the people that live here”.
Local Councillor Peter Mitchell said: “We really appreciate giants in this city! And Jude’s parade will be spectacular . But as well as bringing Christmas cheer to the estate it will also show what talented and creative residents we have both young and not-so-young in Croxteth.
“There is a very serious message behind this project which shows how the lives of young people are really lived – the Christmas event is a way of showing what they can do and it will bring all parts of the community together.”
Bernie Russell senior youth worker on the Stonedale fun bus “We want to light up this estate to celebrate what children bring to our world and I can’t think of a better way to instigate this debate with the powers that be and local communities to make changes happen for the better of all communities in the city.”