A YOUTH project at a Barrhead church has seen a blank wall being transformed into “a colourful beacon of hope.”

Reverend Tim Mineard, minister at St Andrew’s Parish Church, began thinking about a makeover for the wall, which is overlooked by nearby flats, after taking up his role in September 2020.

Now it is the town’s latest attraction, after local youth groups worked with professionals at Spectrum Arts to create a bright mural suitably inspired by the Biblical theme of Noah’s Ark.

“I had the idea and then thought about how I could make this a reality,” said Mr Mineard.

“That’s when I saw a funding opportunity through Barrhead Housing Association, who were making grants of £1,000 available.”

To secure the funding, projects had to make an application and then rely on support via a public vote.

Mr Mineard’s application for the mural project was successful, with the rest of the costs being met by general church funds.

Edinburgh-based Spectrum Arts provided some practical advice but it was the local Guides company that came up with the Noah’s Ark theme.

“It’s a bright, vibrant, colourful story and something that everyone can relate to,” Mr Mineard said. “I also went into one of the local primary schools and got some ideas from them as well.

“Spectrum Arts are used to working with groups of young people, so they sketched out some of the big parts, like the Ark itself.

“Most of the animals were free drawn by the kids and it was very impressive how they were able to have the ideas and then go and draw them.

“I hope it also means they have some sense of ownership. That was my other big aim for the project. If you can give young people a say in what happens, even in terms of the building, then I think that is a strong message.”

A number of young people, most of them connected to the church through youth organisations, worked on the mural over two days, with support from Spectrum Arts and some older congregation members.

The completion of the work was celebrated with a barbecue at the church’s community hall.

Mr Mineard added: “We didn’t just involve young people in creating the mural, it’s also a sign that the church brings vibrancy and colour and reaches out to the community.”