Angmering Railway Station’s very successful community rail partnership has been recognised in a national competition.
The new Sidetracked art project involves many groups and individuals, who are all delighted Friends of Angmering Station has been shortlisted in the It’s Your Station category of the Community Rail Awards 2018.
Inclusivity is at the heart of the project and the publicity at the station is designed specifically to encourage volunteers of all ages and abilities to contribute.
Sidetracked was featured in the Association of Community Rail Partnerships’ event at Shoreham Port in June, to promote the new Sussex Community Rail Partnership for the line between Angmering and Hove.
Deirdre Carolin, Friends of Angmering Station chairman, gave a presentation on the project’s aims and progress, and said the group were fortunate enough to receive funding from ACoRP and train operator Southern.
Deirdre said: “The project posters at Angmering station, along with wider publicity regarding the project, have led to a positive response from individuals and groups, including a local youth group who wish to get involved in caring for their local environment, who have, subsequently, come forward to take part.
“The project has been working in collaboration with Georgian Gardens Community Primary School to bring children to the station on regular visits to turn the wasteland by the side of the platform into an area where plants and wildlife can thrive.
“The children have taken a great pride in growing plants from seeds and cuttings. They have also been busy with creative projects at school, making the most of opportunities to make use of recycled materials, and then taking their creations to the station where they have placed them in the art installation.”
The Men in Sheds group has worked with Art for All, the Rustington community art project, to design and make wooden trees from pallets, in keeping with the project’s ethos of using, wherever possible, recycled materials.
Deirdre said: “The trees proved very popular when they featured in the Christmas display in the booking office and are now in their permanent outdoor positions on the westbound platform as part of the Sidetracked installation.”
Schoolchildren worked with members of Earthworks, an art group based in Aldingbourne, and their leader Gill Hunter-Nudds to create items for the summer display, with a theme of butterflies and flowers.
This Art Buddies partnership has been successfully creating art for four years at joint workshops. The displays are changed seasonally to keep them fresh and to provide an interactive installation.
One of the long-term aims of Sidetracked is to develop a wildlife area alongside the art. To start this along the right tracks, children have painted bird boxes and a butterfly house, which were built by Men In Sheds. Wooden planters have been attractively planted and will be maintained by the group.
Deirdre said: “What was a disused and rubbish strewn piece of wasteland is being developed by the local community into an environmentally-friendly area which will be an attractive and interactive space to be enjoyed by all travellers of all ages.
“The station staff have reported many positive comments about the project from both regular commuters and holidaymakers about it making a great difference to the atmosphere and environment of Angmering station.”
There are more than 80 station partnerships across Southern’s network.
Andy Harrowell, corporate social responsibility manager, said: “I can honestly say that the group at Angmering is one of the best. The regular art displays are appreciated by staff and passengers alike and the new Sidetracked project is an outstanding example of involving people in their local station.
“We have recently extended our community rail partnerships to include the line between Hove and Angmering and this group are a shining example of what can be achieved together. I am delighted they have been shortlisted for this award, it is very much deserved.”