Liverpool gateway to be floral Eurovision tribute to Ukraine

A symbolic seed-spreading event which will transform one of Liverpool’s major gateways into a nature-rich sea of yellow and blue, as a floral Eurovision tribute to Ukraine, takes place today.

Representatives from the city’s Ukrainian community, creatives from Yellow House and staff from National Museums Liverpool and the Eden Project will be sowing wildflower seeds along a visible verge that leads into the city centre, behind the World Museum Liverpool and Central Library.

Poignantly, the Cornflower, Sunflower and Corn marigold seeds, which have been harvested across Liverpool City Region, have been treated and cleaned by a machine imported from the Dombas region of Ukraine.

Pupils at All Saints Primary in Anfield and at St Vincent’s School in West Derby have also helped prepare the wildflower seeds at their Community Seed Hub.

The flyover meadow, which will greet people arriving into the city centre from the north via Scotland Road (A59) and the east via Erskine Street (A580), will also have a carbon capture function and will act as a Eurovision legacy project, returning in even more spectacular fashion in summer 2024.

The symbolic seed sowing event takes place at 3.15pm and is being led by Scouse Flowerhouse and the National Wildflower Centre as part of a wider environmental programme for Eurovision – called “Glitter Not Litter”.

Liverpool City Council has developed “Glitter Not Litter” as an extension of its collaboration with Keep Britain Tidy and has been designed to engage people in the preparations for the major music showcase, which is set to take over the city for two weeks in May.

As well as seed sowing and flower planting at various key sites, the Council is also working with a wide number of voluntary groups to clean and green up communities, as well as parks and open spaces, in the run up to Eurovision and into the summer.

The Council is also creating a green Glitter trail for Eurovision visitors to explore through its EU-funded Urban Green Up programme, which has seen the creation of a number of eco-friendly interventions such as floating islands, green walls, pollinator spaces and the city’s first urban raingarden.

To underpin community engagement, the council has announced Euro Streets to fund grassroots projects and a Eurovision-themed education resource pack has also been distributed to the city’s schools – called the Euro Learn programme – and many schools will be carrying out environmental activities as part of the preparations for the globally televised celebration.

In respect of the long term future of the former Churchill Way flyover site, the Council is currently devising a masterplan – called St George’s Gateway – to create high quality public realm improvements along with a reconfiguration of the highway network around the Queensway tunnel entrance. This work will be also informed by a new city centre mobility strategy.

Councillor Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Highways, said, “I’m thrilled that we’re able to transform this gateway into a special floral tribute to the people of Ukraine as we gear up to host Eurovision.

“The partners involved in making this happen underlines how much work has been going on behind the scenes to engage as many people and communities as possible in being part of the Eurovision celebrations, and proves the point how we can all be United by Music.

“The aim of the Glitter Not Litter campaign is obviously about ensuring the city is as welcoming as possible in May, but there is a huge emphasis on environmental enhancements and nature based solutions which will have a legacy throughout the summer and into next year and beyond.”

Richard Scott of the National Wildflower Centre (part of the Eden Project) and Scouse Flowerhouse said, “I have, for a long time, looked at this site and seen so much potential for wildflowers and nature here.

“This is a simple way to celebrate what is possible with seed and soil – based on biodiversity and carbon capture principles – for a dramatic transformation in a short space of time, to bring humanity and nature together. We want to leave a legacy for future generations with heart and soul. Simple actions multiply.

Anne Fahy, Head of World Museum, said, “National Museums Liverpool has had a relationship with the Eden Project and Scouse Flowerhouse for the past five years, collaborating with them to promote wildflowers and biodiversity within our city landscapes. We’re over the moon to be renewing this relationship on a day that also marks such a beautiful occasion in helping to welcome Eurovision partners to our city.

“Flowers are symbolic of many things – love, celebration, remembrance and friendship – their relevance as part of our Eurovision activities is particularly poignant in demonstrating the strength of Liverpool’s bond with Ukraine. We’re sure they will provide a fantastic and moving sight for people coming into the city.”

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