Our plans for Covid-19 memorial in Enfield

Artist Joe Robinson introduces the ‘living memorial’ he’s working on for pandemic victims and their families in Enfield

Joe Robinson's design for the Enfield Living Memorial in Town Park
Joe Robinson’s design for the Enfield Living Memorial in Town Park

Inspired by a project in Liverpool, community partners led by the Soroptimist Club of Enfield are planning a memorial for all those who died from or during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Called the ‘Enfield Living Memorial’, the project aims to create a space for the collective bereavement of the people of Enfield and will see 30 trees planted in the shape of a heart. Once completed, a fire sculpture in the form of a phoenix will mark a symbolic point of letting go – a permanent artwork will sit in the same location. The phoenix was chosen as it offers an open idea of loss and renewal.

To help develop the project locally, a small working group has been set up. Facilitated by the Soroptimists, it consists of local partners, Enfield Council, as well as myself as a local artist delivering the creative aspects of the project. Soroptimist International is an organisation focused on educating, enabling and empowering women worldwide.

Margaret Turnbull, from the Soroptimist Club of Enfield, explained more. She said: “The Soroptimists are marking their international centenary with tree-planting projects worldwide that remember the first project in 1921, which saved a forest of giant redwoods.

“When a living memorial of trees was suggested for Enfield we felt it was something that both honoured our history but also enabled us to do something important for Enfield. We hope others will support it as well.”

The steering group has spent months considering the options on where it could site the memorial within the borough. Town Park was chosen after looking at practical and technical limitations, as the memorial will be well more than 30 meters across when finished. Parking, public transport, and nearby facilities also influenced the decision.

Town Park also felt right, as it symbolically sits in the heart of the borough. During lockdown, the normal processes of bereavement were restricted and sometimes impossible. The hope is to now provide a place where individuals and families can acknowledge their loss, or perhaps just be a calm place to remember loved ones.

For the community as a whole, having seen hundreds of people lost during Covid-19 locally, it aims to provide a public site of remembrance.

The project will be reliant on funding raised from the public and from organisations who wish to support it. The steering group is costing the different elements of the scheme but estimates the budget will be anywhere between £10,000 and £15,000, depending on what in-kind support it finds.

If people wish to be a part of the project they can help to raise the funding needed. Every contribution, whether £1 or £100, will play a part in creating this public memorial.

Find out more about the Enfield Living Memorial project and donate:
Visit sigbi.org/enfield/tree-planting-project