Stalybridge installation inspires random acts of kindness this World Happiness Day

March 13, 2024


Creative extraordinaires at Tameside’s Phantasmagoria have created a fantastic interactive #PotsOfKindness installation for Stalybridge to celebrate World Happiness Day (20th March).

Phantasmagoria has enlisted the help of Tameside residents to create 150 Bountiful Pots - small ceramic pots containing a suggested act of kindness. The lovely little ceramic pots are sealed with a cork and topped with wax flowers, and will be hidden both indoors and outdoors around Stalybridge Heritage Action Zone, the area of the town centre that runs along Market Street up to, and including, the train station - including inside both Stalybridge Library and the Art Gallery.  

As well as marking World Happiness Day, the Installation around Stalybridge celebrates the life and values of philanthropist Ada Summers, aka 'Lady Bountiful', the first British woman to sit as a magistrate, and one of the first women in England to become a Justice of the Peace.  Ada was also the first female councillor, a mayor and freeman of Stalybridge.

Residents and visitors of Stalybridge are encouraged to find and open a pot and to carry out the act of kindness in the pot, or one of their own. Finders can keep their pot or if they wish, rehide it for someone else to find.

Ann Gilligan from Phantasmagoria said: “When Phantasmagoria was asked to create a project for Stalybridge Heritage Action Zone, we knew we had to include Ada Summers - or Lady Bountiful - an amazing historical figure that anyone who lives in Stalybridge or Tameside should hear about!

“The other inspiration was Mary Shadbolt, the mum and grandma of two of our regular Phanta workshop participants, Amy and Florence. When Mary sadly died, Amy and Florence donated Phanta lots of Mary’s art materials including the beautiful clay pots which we knew we would eventually find a perfect use for, and also lots of beeswax. Mary was a community worker, environmentalist, and beeswax artist. Using Mary’s materials for this project seemed a perfect legacy for her and also ties into Phantasmagoria’s ethos of using repurposed, recycled and environmentally friendly materials wherever possible. So, not only have we used the pots, we made marbled paper flowers which we have dipped in wax to make them weather resistant.”

Here are a few examples of the acts of kindness suggested in the jars

  • Ask someone how their day was and really LISTEN to the answer
  • Leave a thank you note above your post box
  • Draw a picture for someone you miss
  • Start a food box collection for a food bank
  • Compliment somebody - If you like something about them, tell them!
  • Handmake something for a friend.
  • Be kind to yourself! When we’re happy we’re more likely to be kind to others.

The jars also include a note explaining that the project was inspired by Ada Summers and a link where you can find out more information. Anyone who finds a pot is encouraged to share pictures on social media by tagging @InTameside and @Phantasmagoria.cic

The trail starts on World Happiness Day (20th March) for five days with 30 more pots released each day.

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