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Follow Taunton’s landmark Rainbow Path

24 June 2021 : Community, Council news, Business

The Mayor of Taunton, Cllr Sue Lees, will officially open the new Rainbow Path in Goodland Gardens next week.

Cllr Lees will be joined by members of Somerset West and Taunton Council and the community as she marks the creation of what is believed to be the UKs first Rainbow Path.

The path signifies inclusivity and hope and is being officially opened on June 28 - the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement.

The rainbow path will also feature a forward facing arrow in black, brown, light blue, pink and white to indicate progress and represent diversity and inclusion in our communities.

It will run for 62 metres parallel to the River Tone from the entrance to Goodland Gardens in Bridge Street.

Cllr Derek Perry, Executive Member for Sports, Parks and Leisure, has championed the project which was the idea of Jenny Keogh and Liz Hutchin of Go Create, who are striving to make the arts more accessible to the whole community.

Cllr Perry said: “Rainbows mean different things to different people - they are popular with children, give a message of hope, celebrate diversity, and are of course associated with support for the NHS and key workers.

“I am proud that this Council recognises the importance of inclusivity and diversity and is sending this message loud and clear.

“I hope it will be embraced by our residents as well as visitors from across the country who can go on to enjoy our beautiful riverside park and support our businesses.”

Jenny Keogh added: “We had discovered rainbow footpaths around the world in Brisbane, Sydney and Reykjavik but only road crossings in the UK. We had to try to achieve a first for Taunton and this seemed to be the perfect way to attract residents and visitors to the town centre.”

The cost of creating the Rainbow Path has come from Taunton’s Emergency Town Centre Recovery Fund and is part of a wider package of projects being delivered by the Taunton Together partnership of local businesses, heritage, arts and culture organisations, and SWT to help the High Street bounce back from the impact of Covid-19.

Other town centre initiatives by Go Create, funded by the ETCRF, include the Love WINdowS’ project showcasing a series of visual art commissions in shop windows throughout the town centre to form a family friendly window trail; and the Follow Your Heart Trail consisting of 20 large heart-shaped sculptures located around the town, painted by local artists and community groups following the theme of Love Wins.

Taunton was awarded £200,000 from the ETCRF which has also provided funding to Wellington, Minehead and six smaller retail centre and tourist locations in SWT.