Published Thursday 26 March 2015 at 14:19
A community art and horticultural project to transform a station in Blackburn on the East Lancashire line has been awarded £2,000.
The ‘Altogether Now project’ presented by the East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership won first prize in a best practice challenge set up by rail operator Abellio at an event organised by the Department for Transport.
The monies will be used to help fund the work with other match funding from the Connecting East Lancashire project and the councils Local Transport Plan being made available.
Working with vulnerable adults, college students and the newly formed local family group Young Weavers, the project is aimed at using community art to improve the waiting environment at Pleasington station, similar to the recent work carried out at Mill Hill and Cherry Tree.
It will combine the expertise of Community Rail Lancashire (CRL), Northern Rail, a local artist (Alastair Nicholson), Stanley Grange, Blackburn College and the Young Weavers to develop imaginative artwork that will rejuvenate the station.
Stanley Grange is a voluntary organisation that works with people who have a range of disabilities such as cerebral palsy and autism, it also runs its own nursery. The project will provide new opportunities for them to engage with the community and work alongside students from Blackburn College.
The students will survey passengers to identify their requirements for the station and this will be used to develop and fine tune the project. Stanley Grange will provide new planted areas and flower tubs and a community art project will be developed that will add colour and panache at the revived station.
The project will enable College students to contribute towards their Public Service NVQ Level 2 and for the residents of Stanley Grange, it will raise their confidence and bring them actively into contact with other members of their local community.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is also funding the refurbishment of the other facilities at the station using funding from their Local Sustainability Transport Fund (LSTF). Once completed Stanley Grange will continue to look after the planted areas – in effect adopting the station. This scheme is also intended to link to the exciting plans for the creation of local cycle network for the borough known as the Weavers Wheel given the proximity of the station to Witton Country Park and the new cycle hub.
Councillor Maureen Bateson, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Investing in our railways is one of our priorities. It is not just about improving the service but it is also about improving the facilities and the passenger experience. We have been working hard in partnership with the rail industry and local community to ensure we provide modern attractive station facilities that people want to use.”
James Syson Chair of the East Lancashire and Clitheroe Line Community Rail Partnership said “This award is great news and testament to the hard work of our Community Rail Partnerships which have worked tirelessly with the community and local businesses to transform stations along our local lines. Stations are gateways into our local communities and with passenger numbers increasing year on year more people are able to benefit from an attractive and safer waiting environment”.