A GROUP of young people with complex disabilities have created a giant kingfisher sculpture which is currently on display in Stroud.

The National Star College students joined forces to create Pause for Thought, which is currently on display at the Sub Rooms, as part of this summer’s Cotswolds Kingfisher Trail.

National Star is a Gloucestershire-based UK charity working with young people with complex disabilities and learning difficulties, to reach their potential.

The charity has stayed open throughout the pandemic. Based at Ullenwood, near Cheltenham, National Star provides learning programmes as well as personal development and long-term living.

Working together to create a piece of art such as the kingfisher, provides students with an opportunity to learn from each other, to develop their communication and interpersonal skills and helps them grow in confidence.

Students with a diverse range of abilities took part in the decoupage decoration. Some took responsibility for different parts of ‘Kenny’ the Fisher King, focussing on the head, feet, or back.

Those who were not able to be hands on with the application process took responsibility for painting individual feathers, which were later applied by others.

Students, as part of an aerial dance session, took part by pouring orange paint on to a large canvas which was then prepared to create the breast plumage for Kenny.

Tutor Louise Adams said: “We have a word of the year, designed to give staff and students a ‘hook’ for creative work throughout the year. This year it is ‘Pause’ (Paws, Pours, Pores).

“It has been a year where we have all taken stock – stopped for a moment – and reflected on many things. Students took time to discuss how they have been feeling in these uncertain times and came up with words to apply to the kingfisher’s feathers – to make their mark and record their thoughts.

“During testing times, this has been a project of colour, collaboration, inclusion and hope. It was a real group effort.”

The Kingfisher Trail, which was launched by Cotswolds National Landscape, will run until October along two distinct trail routes in the Cotswolds, inspired by the rivers Severn and Thames.

Designed as a Covid-secure and accessible summer activity, the Kingfisher Trail features 20 large scale artist-designed kingfisher sculptures, hosted at hand-picked locations throughout the region. There is an extra-special Flying Kingfisher, which soars into a new location every two weeks, and finally a 22nd sculpture aptly named the Golden Kingfisher, which is part of a prize draw competition.

You can find out more about how to spot all 22 sculptures by downloading the trail map from www.kingfishertrail.org, where you’ll also be able to find information about the accompanying app. The kingfishers are hosted at a range of places, from historic castles to market towns, and nature reserves to cafes.

For more details see www.kingfishertrail.org