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TAUNTON: Permanent rainbow path in town centre

TAUNTON: Permanent rainbow path in town centre

Image: LDRS

A permanent rainbow path will be installed in the centre of Somerset’s county town to “put in on the inclusivity map”.

Somerset West and Taunton Council has published proposals for a 62-metre path between Bridge Street and Goodland Gardens along the River Tone.

The path will include both the Pride and Progress colours and is designed to make Taunton seem a more inclusive place, especially to groups who have traditionally felt marginalised.

The path will be installed by contractors WJ, and is designed to last for at least 15 years without maintenance.

Councillor Derek Perry, portfolio holder for sports, parks and leisure, published details of the proposed path on the council’s website on Friday (June 4).

He said: “The rainbow path will also include the ‘Progress’ colours, which will add a chevron along the hoist that features black, brown, light blue, pink, and white stripes to bring those communities (marginalized people) to the forefront.

“The arrow points to the right to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress is being made.”

The path will run from the southern side of Bridge Street up to the Mill Stream bridge at the entrance of Goodland Gardens.

Jenny Keogh and Liz Hutchin from GoCreate, a Taunton-based arts organisation, said the new path would signify the town’s efforts at becoming more inclusive and provide a colourful focus point for all residents and visitors.

They said: “The rainbow footpath will signal to both visitors and the community that Taunton is making considerable steps towards embracing equality, diversity and inclusion and visibly trying to overcome any inequalities.

“We would like to take these practical steps towards making Taunton an accepting, inclusive place to be and that everyone is welcome regardless of how they might identify within the community.

“We believe that there are no other rainbow footpaths in the UK; the examples we found are in Australia and Iceland. This could put Taunton on the ‘inclusivity’ map.

“Everyone will benefit from this burst of colour and fun, but the clear signal that Taunton is an open, friendly and inclusive place for everyone is absolutely vital as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Although great strides have been made by authorities, organisations, schools and colleges to promote acceptance and understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, there are still young people who fear, or feel uncomfortable being who they are, in public, in Taunton.

“We need to demonstrate that we are making efforts to overcome these inequalities.”

Unlike other parts of Somerset, like Portishead and Weston-super-Mare, Taunton’s rainbow painting will not extend to the road crossings, with artists and councillors fearing this would be “a distraction to motorists and pedestrians”.

The funding for the project will come from Taunton’s emergency town centre recovery fund – though the council has not confirmed how much it will cost.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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