The Hand

Andy Phipps
19th March 2012
Photo of The Hand sculpture
Photo ©Nottinghamshire County Council

The Hand, a sculpture at Rufford Abbey Country Park in Nottinghamshire, was designed by children, young people and their carers who use Makaton, working with local sculptor and blacksmith, Roger Lee.

The 'thumbs up' shape of the sculpture is based on the Makaton symbol meaning 'good', and other Makaton symbols make up parts of the surface of the sculpture.

Over seven workshop sessions, the young designers drew pictures and symbols expressing some of their own everyday experiences, and the difficulties they face accessing parks and leisure spaces. These were then translated into metal cutouts, symbols, pictograms and lettering by the sculptor. Combined with "stick man" figures welded from steel rods, they form the material and surface patterning of this eye-catching artwork

Detail of the sculpture showing some of the Makaton symbols used
Photo ©Sally Thomas

The Hand is part of a project ongoing from 2002, to encourage children and young people with disabilities to access parks. It was organised by Nottinghamshire County Council's Disability Support Team, Young People's Division and County Youth Arts, working with Rufford Country Park Craft Centre and local charity "A Place to Call Our Own", a local charity for disabled children, young people and their carers.

Since this project, the feedback of these children and parents, and others, has been taken on board and many new child-based activities are now available in the park. These include a large Play Village, Childrens Garden, sensory plants in the gardens and a Wheel of Fortune Maze.

Click here for more information about Rufford Abbey Country Park

Information courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council

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