Adoptive families work together to create sand octopus art on Roker Beach
More than 50 adoptive families from across the North East and Cumbria recently gathered to create a very unique piece of sand art at Roker Beach in Sunderland.
The stunning 100ft x 100ft sand octopus was commissioned by Adopt Coast to Coast – the Regional Adoption Agency for Cumbria County Council, Durham County Council and Together for Children (Sunderland) – and the session was led by renowned local sand artist Claire Eason from Soul2Sand.
The adoptive families helped create the artwork over a two-hour period with each family having the opportunity to add to the design using a selection of rakes and specially made circle makers.
Ariel photography shows the finished octopus who has been officially named ‘Tickle Monster Olly’ by event guest and competition winner Kai (8). While video and drone footage taken throughout the day shows families working together on the artwork and reveals the final art piece.
Paula Gibbons, Head of Service for Adopt Coast to Coast said: “Every year we host an Adopt Coast to Coast family fun event which allows families to get together and meet others whose lives have been changed through adoption. For some who adopted during the Covid pandemic this is the first chance they’ve had to meet fellow adopters and share experiences. It is also a lovely way for the team to catch up with families they’ve worked with and see the children as they grow. This year we wanted to do something creative that got everyone involved and the sand art led by Claire really allowed families to put their own stamp on the design!
“The final piece of art really is a celebration of all the families we work with, adoption and the beautiful geography we cover from the North East to Cumbria. It is also one way to acknowledge the brilliant adoption community in our regions and the ongoing support available to adoptive families. Whether support is in the form of joining in at events like this, taking part in training, asking for support in writing letters to birth family, or help with accessing therapeutic support through the Adoption Support Fund, each family’s unique needs are met through ongoing relationships with agencies like ours and our fun day is a reminder of just that.”
Sand artist, Claire Eason from Soul2Sand added: “It was so exciting to be asked to create a huge sand design which allowed for contributions from a large number of people. Some of the children were very young and we also needed to factor in timeslots so all the families could get involved. From this initial brief the idea of a bold octopus with extra limbs to create more raking opportunities formed; a marine animal, with lots of legs for hugging! The bubble frame was simple to reproduce and very organic to encourage a “mistakes aren’t possible” atmosphere. The families got the idea quickly and it was wonderful to see everyone make their mark and create the end result.”
Adopt Coast to Coast formed in April 2021 as part of an England-wide initiative to unify adoption agencies and create quicker matches for children in care. In the first year of operation the Adopt Coast to Coast team found permanent homes for 120 children and approved 70 adopters.
Adopt Coast to Coast follows a hub model meaning each Local Authority remains responsible for delivering its adoption services on a day-to-day basis, but the three Local Authorities work together to collectively find the best match for children and babies in their care. As approved adopters are considered for children across all three geographical areas rather than a single Local Authority area, this can also speed up the adoption process for prospective adopters.
Find out more about adopting with Adopt Coast to Coast at www.adoptcoasttocoast.org.uk or by calling on 03000 268 268.
Watch a video of the sand art creation.