Artists, hospital radio and employment initiatives – the new face of Community Rail in Wales
Transport for Wales is surging ahead with its plans to create community hubs in railway stations across Wales.
As part of their Community Rail Vision, TfW is continuing to work with communities and local groups across Wales so that railway station space can accessed and used.
At Abergavenny railway station, TfW is investing nearly £300,000 and their rooms will be occupied by a hospital radio station and an arts organisation.
Nevill Hall Sound is the radio station for Nevill Hall Hospital and the surrounding community and Peak Cymru is an arts-based organisation based in the Black Mountains, working creatively with professional artists and communities. Using the station space to house artist studio’s and galleries, Peak Cymru’s over-arching goal is to increase opportunities for children and young people to engage with the various strands of their artistic programme.
At Llandudno, TfW is investing over £100,000 to host ‘Creating Enterprise’ – a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on helping local people into employment initiatives. Creating Enterprise will also host the Conwy Valley Community Rail Partnership, extending their reach to Anglesey and accessing more communities in Wales.
These railway station improvements being implemented by TfW support the £90 million Welsh Government investment programme to transform Wales’ towns.
Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “The pandemic will reshape how our communities look, reflected in our long-term ambition to see more people working from home or close to home.
“We have already confirmed a £90m investment in town centres across Wales through our Transforming Towns package. As part of this we are also taking a ‘Town Centre First’ approach to locate services and buildings in town centres wherever possible. Having more community facilities in railway stations can be an important part of these changes.
“The Station Improvement Vision is making our stations better places to be in while the Community Rail Vision is giving people more reasons to go to them. Transport for Wales is not just serving our communities, but is an active part of them as well.”
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said: “It’s great to see progress on this first phase of investment into the development of community hubs at our railway stations. We’ve recently seen the announcement from Welsh Government about their long-term ambition to keep 30% of the workforce working from home, with the establishment of community hubs to help with local regeneration throughout Wales.
“At TfW, we view our railway stations as such hubs and are already working with local radio stations, art organisations, social enterprises and small businesses to integrate our stations into the communities of Wales.
“TfW has also recruited five Community Engagement Officers to work alongside the Community Rail team to build key grass roots relationships with local groups and gather input from communities to ensure that their voice is heard in local transport planning.”
TfW also launched the South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership with 4theregion in Swansea and have introduced small independent businesses to Bargoed, Taffs Well and Carmarthen.
Sharon Jones, Director of Partnerships for Creating Enterprise added: “We are thrilled with the prospect of setting up a brand new hub inside such a beautiful building at the very heart of our community. Plans are already in place to carefully transform it into a vibrant, accessible space from where we can respond to local needs and provide a quality service for the benefit of all. As Wales adjusts to the ‘new normal’, we are ready to offer opportunities, support and resources to help Conwy adapt and prosper.”
Photo credit: Transport for Wales
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