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What We Did
Despite Merseyrail spending millions refurbishing Oriel Road train station and adding impressive public art, the land, which is on the approach to the station, was becoming an eyesore due to lack of maintenance and litter. This created a poor impression for the residents of Bootle, and the many thousands of people who pass through the station each day.
We agreed with Merseyrail, Network Rail, and Sefton Council, to adopt the approach. Our idea was to re-purpose the land so that it became visually more appealing, and to create a sustainable food growing project for the site. We were confident that we could deliver on the project as we had already done something similar on our own property.
(The land behind The Brunny had previously been derelict but, after a lot of hard work, it is now a purpose-built garden and outdoor play area.)
We knew that, with our team of staff and volunteers, we could improve the approach for the benefit of the community, our members, and commuters. This would provide a practical and appealing space for all to use.
With help from Merseyrail, Merseytravel, The People’s Health Trust, and Mersey Forest we transformed the site. We installed raised beds, similar to those in our own garden, which are easy to access and allow us to grow fresh food that people can take free of charge.
The approach also features a colourful wild flower meadow, which is good for pollination, and fruit trees to provide another healthy (and FREE) food.
Why We Adopted Oriel Road Train Station
The Oriel Road train station adoption idea grew from our successful garden project. Our garden has numerous benefits, including improving the facilities at the Centre itself, the lives of our members, and the wider community. It provides:
- education opportunities;
- healthy lifestyles; and
- has led to closer relations between the generations, particularly members of our Mama Margaret St. James Pensioners’ Club and the children in our Junior Kids Club, Senior Youth Club, and Brownies.
All these things are part of our Community Resilience programme, which is aimed at creating sustainable communities and social cohesion.
The site at Oriel Road train station gives us another opportunity to provide these benefits:
- It is used to deliver educational training sessions, with our members and young people from local primary schools taking part in growing projects on the site. The project gives our young people the chance to demonstrate their new gardening skills. This gives them a sense of accomplishment, pride in their work, and their community.
- It also helps us promote health and wellbeing, and particularly the social aspect. We have “walk and sow” sessions with parents and toddlers coming to the site. Participants enjoy walking and talking together off-site and helping each other when they get to the station.
- The project also made a positive impact in the community. As well as improving the appearance of the station we have received rave reviews for our fresh produce, and it has reduced anti-social behaviour in and around the area, which has positively benefited Merseyrail, commuters, and local residents.
How to Get Involved
Interested in helping at the approach to Oriel Road station? Then join us at Brunswick Youth and Community Centre.