THE bold burst of colour brightening up a corner of Govanhill is a sign of things to come on the city’s South Side.

Rags to Riches, the awardwinning Govanhill Baths project which is helping to transform this area of Glasgow, is one of a handful of local groups preparing to design a whole new streetscape on sections of Victoria Road.

With the support of Streets Ahead, which has provided the group with £800 towards materials, seating and planters, it is aiming high.

“It will be amazing – a real change for this part of the main road, and something the whole community can get involved in,” explains project manager Nadine Gorency.

“Consultation with residents, schools, businesses – that is at the heart of what we do, so we are very excited about hearing what people think.”

This is a group with an excellent track record, of course – long before most people had cottoned on to the idea that public art and upcycling projects might be a good way of bringing people together in an area with its fair share of challenges, Rags to Riches were all over it.

Working with locals schools and nurseries, other businesses and charities, they came up with a bunch of innovative projects tackling some of the big issues on their doorstep, from flytipping and waste reduction to integration and isolation.

Examples of their work are scattered throughout Govanhill, from the artworks on the lampposts to the range of upcycled goods available inside their own store on Victoria Road, and nearby Govanhill Baths.

“It has been hard, at times, to overcome the negative perceptions people have of this area, but things are changing for the better,” says Nadine.

“It is a very vibrant community, and there are many positive relationships developing between schools and residents and other organisations – we see that happening every day.”

One of the most beautiful projects is a dazzling screen created by the young pupils, parents and staff of Govanhill Nursery to provide shade and shelter from the busy main road.

The nursery is home to around 160 children, encompassing 19 nationalities, so language and communication can be a challenge.

Head of nursery Nicola George explains: “The lovely thing about this project is that the language barrier really didn’t matter – all of our families could come in and work together with the Rags to Riches team and create something really special.

“When the sun shines through the screen, it’s very beautiful.”

Rags to Riches tutor Amelia Rowe explains: “We had a lot of fun creating the structure – we got all the kids together and let them play with lots of junk and loose materials, to see what they enjoyed.

“It was pretty obvious they loved colourful things, and banging stuff to make a noise.

“We used old scaffolding boards, pot lids and recycled materials to create the structure, and the parents and children came up with the four seasons theme to decorate it.”

Over on the corner of Bowman Street and Victoria Road, Nadine, Amelia, fellow tutor Joanne Neill and volunteer John McCann are explaining their vision for the streetscape project.

“Together with Locavore, Southside Studios and Friends of Romanolave, we will each take a section and work on a design which means something to local people,” says Nadine.

“It could incorporate planters, with herbs and flowers, or writing and symbols, or even colourful paving stones - anything and everything can be considered.”

She adds: “We will hold consultations in January, to find out what local people want, and then work on the themes and ideas which emerge.

“We have a lot of experience of creating large scale installations, so we are really excited to work on this one.”

The works will run in conjunction with the construction of the new South City Way along Victoria Road, which will incorporate a cycle path.

“It’s going to be amazing, a real change and we can’t wait to hear from local people in January,” adds Nadine.

“It would be great to hear from more volunteers, too, who can lend a hand once work gets underway. We’re hoping it will all be finished by early summer.”

She adds:Getting funding from Streets Ahead is fantastic – it has been a real boost for us. Now, we are just excited to get started.”

For more information about the project, contact Nadine on 0141 433 2999 or email