Community initiative to chase rainbows opens in Southampton parks

rainbow trail

The rainbow trail shares a message of hope as we move forward through the coronavirus crisis

 During July and August 2020, parks in the city including The Common, Freemantle Lake, Riverside Park, Southampton Sports Centre and within the city centre will be part of a Rainbow Trail for residents to follow and enjoy thanks to a community art project.

The Rainbow Trail, organised by local artist and creative Jack Irwin and Stuart Shaw from Robert Rose Carpentry aims to help uplift spirits, share stories from the community and celebrate hope after the lockdown.

Supporting the Council’s Green City Plans, the rainbows have been carved from up-cycled scaffold board and printed with designs by local children and residents of Southampton. Each rainbow is displayed with a story or poem as well as QR code, which can be scanned to “capture the rainbow” and read the story.

Stuart Shaw from Robert Rose Carpentry, who is creating the trail with his project partner, artist and creative, Jack Irwin, said: “The Rainbow Trail means a huge amount to me and I feel incredibly proud to be a part of something so special. Seeing the amount of enjoyment it is bringing to the residents of Southampton has made all of the hard work worthwhile and I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, sponsors and organisations involved that have helped to make it happen.”

Jack Irwin adds: "We received rainbow designs from all ages with many families and schools taking part. The stories and poems are like a window into the homes of Southampton residents during the most stringent phases of lockdown. It’s incredibly humbling to have received so many touching accounts and great to know that so much creativity is happening here in the city."

Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City and Place comments: “The Rainbow Trail is a wonderful initiative and a welcome addition to our parks. Rainbows have become an iconic symbol throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, with many proudly displayed in windows in the city, and we can all enjoy seeing the fantastic designs in our parks during the summer months of July and August. We’re fortunate to have a wealth of parks and green open spaces here in Southampton, but please remember to keep following the social distancing guidelines, whilst in the parks or looking at the Rainbow Trail.”

While the event is free, the Rainbow Trail hopes to raise money for Communicare, a charity that enriches the lives of lonely and isolated people in and around the city. To donate visit The Rainbow Trail Project Virgin Money Giving page.

For more information, or to view the trail map visit The Rainbow Trail Project webapge or keep up to date via Facebook.

With special thanks to:


Southampton Council, The Hub Cycleworks , Zedify Southampton, RBS Scaffolding, Robert Rose Carpentry, TopMarx Ltd, Coversure, Hollybrook Car Centre, Movin Monkeez

Individual sponsors: Richard Blackman, Derek Manser


Rob Shaw, Olivia Shaw, Tim Shaw, Emma Jones, Erin O'Connel, George Weller, Joe Smith, Charlie McKinlay and Max Irwin.