The team at Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) have been supporting the Newcastle branch of charity St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) as they start their work as station adopters of Manors Station.
Manors is the first station on the East Coast Main Line out of Newcastle, and was adopted by SVP back in August of this year. As there is not as yet a CRP covering the stations on the East Coast Main Line, TVCRP wanted to take on the opportunity. Although currently a relatively small and quiet station, it is envisaged that with the opening of the Northumberland Line in 2024, more trains will stop at Manors Station, creating more travel opportunities for people in the area.
The St Vincent de Paul Society (England & Wales) is part of an international Christian voluntary network dedicated to tackling poverty in all its forms by providing practical assistance to people in need. With this particular branch of SVP being located close to the station in Shieldfield, many of the members regularly pass by Manors. This diverse group of individuals consists of migrants, former homeless people, students, the deaf, and other members of the local community, who all have a large number of skills they can bring to this new station adoption challenge.
In order to meet and form strong connections with other station adopters from the Tyne Valley, SVP members travelled up to Haltwhistle. Various ideas were discussed, including those which the group are hoping to gain support with from Northern. With large portions of waste land around the station in need of attention, this has created an opportunity for the group to think in terms of ecology, sustainability and biodiversity.
There is currently also a lot of blank fencing on the station approaches, which the new Station Adopters think could be linked with the history of Newcastle, its rich architecture and diverse communities. One SVP member wants to be a tour guide, and has already debuted the station’s history into his tours. SVP plan to approach the metal, textile and wood artists in the local area who can help decorate the surroundings. The object is to communicate, include and engage with the wider community.
Dr Megan Nottingham, SVP Well-being Coordinator, has spoken of the group’s plans on making the station interesting, attractive and welcoming: “Various groups in SVP are taking part – the Poetry and Pie Men’s Club, the Art Club, the Chit Chat Ladies Café, the SVP Walking Group, the Textile Programme and the Knit and Natter Club. In addition, members of the SVP partner organisations will be invited to take part in the improvement of the Manors surroundings: Chilli Art Studio, Ouseburn Farm, Big River Bakery, Tyne Housing, The Mind Charity, Women East End, and In-common Crafts.”
Dr Nottingham added: “There was so much achieved in Manchester, and I am looking forward to the future. I am delighted as this opportunity will help to develop our role in the community in a very visible manner – making Manors adoption a true co-production project, focused on building resilience, well-being and the shared creative outcomes”.