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Cheering up Sydney with big yellow signs

Big yellow signs with positive messages will soon be seen all around Sydney in an effort to cheer up Sydneysiders.

Big Yellow Umbrella, a charity organisation, has partnered with Lifeline Macarthur for the Positivity Project.

The initial concept was to cheer up Western Sydney, which is where Big Yellow Umbrella is based.

Beginning in September this year, signs popped up all around the Macarthur, Camden and Wollondilly local government areas.

Kim, Landouw, Chief Operations Manager for Big Yellow Umbrella, said she is hoping the project will help foster a message of positivity and better mental health for the community.

“We hadn’t faced a lockdown before, not to this degree anyway, and we felt that it was really important to stay positive and to promote positive mental health,” she said.

There are currently more than 40 six-foot banners around the Camden local government area.

However, the team soon recognised that this was a program that could benefit other areas of Sydney.

So far, the signs have also been delivered to Alexandria, Waterloo, Erskineville and Beverly Hills.

To choose the messages to display on the signs, staff were asked to provide lists of quotes that have resonated with them during times of poor mental health.

Hundreds of quotes and affirmations were gathered and the team were asked to vote for the ones that would most benefit the community.

As a result, 20 messages were chosen for the signs.

“We narrowed it down to the ones that we felt would be the broadest and really reach out to people as they were walking, going through the park, driving along the roads or going to work, if they were still working,” Ms Landouw said.

However, people interested in purchasing the signs for their community are unable to select the message they wish to receive.

This is mostly due to restrictions and logistics, Ms Landouw said, however, the team also didn’t want the same sign on a street.

“We’ve got an area here in south-west Sydney called Mount Annan and there’s a whole cul-de-sac that every single house had bought a sign,” she said.

“So, you would imagine, if every single sign was the same, the messaging wouldn’t have gone out the way that it was intended to.”

Ms Landouw is hoping these signs will help the community to see that “we’re all in it together.

“It is a hard time for everybody, whether it be COVID or whether it be other mental health issues or concerns that people are having,” she said.

“You’re not alone and you can reach out and Big Yellow Umbrella and Lifeline are here to support you.”

The feedback on the signs has been overwhelmingly positive, with many saying they have been uplifting.

“It’s been really positive for people to read the signs as they’re out as part of their day,” Ms Landouw said.

“We’ve had a lot of thank you messages for the positivity and the joy that this has brought the family.”

Big Yellow Umbrella are currently working on expanding the project all across Sydney.

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www.yellowumbrella.org.au/

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