Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council – 1245 Sunflowers

Shortlisted for the Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion in the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2019


As well as being a commemoration of Stockton’s lost soldiers in the Great War, 1245 Sunflowers has enabled the widest possible sections of our community to develop greater levels of empathy, understanding and coming together which have been absolutely astounding. To take the inspiration of ‘relating’ to lives lost 100 years ago and applying that to the community of today has resulted in true – real – community cohesion taking place. We have sung, walked, talked, laughed, cried, cooked, danced, created and shared our lives in a unique way. From those in recovery from addiction and mental illness to those in the care system; the isolated elderly; prison inmates and refugees; schools, hospitals, council officers, businesses, the project – incredibly simple but engaging to all has brought thousands of people together.

The local authority supported it – but allowed social media, word of mouth, formal and informal networks to evolve and the result has changed lives – and our community forever. The project will end by bringing the efforts of over 2000 arts and music participants together on November 11th and they are already asking… what next???

What the judges had to say:

“This wonderful project used the commemoration of the Great War to bind people together.”

“The success in this project seems to lie in its simplicity. Using arts and creativity and storytelling to bring connections form the past into today’s community seems to have worked as a means of cohesion.”