Community art project set to bring Hope to Hamilton

Avanti West Coast has awarded a charity £40,000 in funding to deliver a unique art project at Hamilton Central station. Titled ‘Hope in Hamilton’, the project centres on creating a piece of interactive art at the station with the input of local people in south Lanarkshire who are being supported with their mental wellbeing.

The idea builds upon on the work of Rail 74 Community Rail Partnership (CRP) – a charity that aims to deliver community benefits along the Rutherglen to Hamilton Central line through innovative projects – to improve mental health.

Avanti West Coast are supporting the initiative through their Community Rail Project Fund and are partnering with fellow train operators ScotRail and CrossCountry to help deliver Hope in Hamilton.  

With the support of Samaritans, a series of workshops will be held over eight months for members of the community, including patients from NHS Beckford Lodge, individuals being supported by Lanarkshire Action for Mental Health, and Police Scotland Youth volunteers, to design the art installation.  

Award-winning artist, Rob Mulholland, from Arcadia Sculpture Centre in Loch Lomond, has been commissioned to bring the participants’ ideas to life before the artwork is installed on the platform next year.

Speaking of his involvement, Rob said: “I’m delighted to be part of such an interesting project that focuses on mental wellbeing and look forward to translating the ideas of various groups and individuals into a contemporary artwork to be enjoyed by the community and visitors to Hamilton.”

The project aims to help the participants by giving them a creative outlet and opportunity to interact with those who have shared experiences. It follows Rail 74 CRP’s ‘Conversation Café’ sessions before the COVID-19 pandemic to get passengers onboard trains and stations between Rutherglen and Hamilton Central to talk.

Suzie McCheyne, development support at Rail 74 CRP, said: “We are extremely excited and want to bring a real sense of hope and pride to the area and provide an appealing, interactive art piece at Hamilton Central Station collaborating with the local community as a legacy of cohesion and providing real voices and input alongside a greater awareness of local and national support services relating to mental health wellbeing for our communities in times of need.”

Joanna Buckley, community manager at Avanti West Coast, said: “We’re proud to be playing our part in bringing the community of Hamilton together to create artwork that champions the town and its people, while raising awareness of mental wellbeing.

“Through our work with Samaritans we know the importance of seeking help if you’re struggling. We hope this project will make a difference by signposting people to support available and reminding them they’re not alone, which is more vital than ever as we face the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”