A redundant room at Havant Station has been transformed into a thriving new community space.
After working closely with local Community Interest Company (CIC) Solent Remade, South Western Railways agreed to lease the space on a peppercorn rent, to allow the CIC to use it as a hub for resource repair, and reduce or reuse projects.
The refit may not be finished yet, but Solent Remade has been able to pilot its first monthly bike basics drop-in session, and is already using the space to store equipment for Havant Repair Café and the Solent Cycle Project, as well as items for their emerging ‘Library of Things’ – a social enterprise that helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out useful items. The CIC hopes to hold more such events as it attracts new supporters and volunteers.
The refurbishment of the space was supported by Community Rail Network, Hampshire CC, and UnLtd. A refit is currently underway by Bluehouse, with volunteers joining in to decorate the interior. This has been made possible by a Small Grants Fund grant from Community Rail Network.
Solent Remade is just one of the many community groups which are finding new and practical uses for redundant SWR spaces which might otherwise lie vacant for years.
Anne Sayer, a director of Solent Remade, said: “We can’t express our gratitude enough to all those organisations that have helped us make this project a reality – especially South Western Railway and Community Rail Network, without whom it really would not have been possible.
“Solent Remade is looking forward to using the space to make a real difference in the local community”.
Paula Aldridge, SWR’s community rail manager, added: “We are absolutely delighted to have been part of this project, and to help Solent Remade find a new home. This is another great example of how empty spaces at stations can be transformed for the benefit of the local community”.