At the tail end of last year, you might have read what 2020 was like for Station South. The work we had been doing to secure significant funding and ambitious planning permission to achieve the Station South vision and bring it to life.
A short summary goes a bit like this: everything was on a go slow because of the pandemic but we made slow progress. We got the planning permission, eventually. We saw phase two works completed on site (all the boring structural stuff and mains sewage that no one can see...lovely!)
We had multiple funding applications written with varying deliberations, panel reviews and outcome letters waiting for sign off. This was the bulk of our year. Doing lots of writing and waiting.
A big boost to morale at the end of 2020 was the news that we had been awarded 100K from the Architectural Heritage Fund. The Transforming Places Through Heritage Fund supports regeneration of the high street through repurposing old buildings. They thought we fit the bill and our application was successful.
This decision and the faith this organisation has consistently shown in the project has really supported us and we know it has helped other funders to join the dots and see how the big vision can be achieved.
And just like that we are bang in the middle of 2021! We are pleased and relieved to share the almighty good news that we have secured just enough funding to start the final phase of work on the building. The final fit out works that will get us open serving that first brew and beer.
Hooray and a big phew! (Have we said thank you for your patience enough yet, probably not!)
One of the things on our Station South restoration journey that has left a real imprint, is that we have had to reconcile that we have not secured all the funding (yet!) we had worked on over the past two years. This was to create the complete ‘bells and whistles’ big vision as soon as we opened.
We applied for Places To Ride funding - starting off the conversation and application process way back in 2019 - to transform the landscape and building from the get go and well...
After many, many hours of pouring our heart and brain juice into our Places to Rides application and despite a successful appeal on an initially disappointing decision, we still didn’t manage to bag the big grant for the overall Station Green transformation. We were a bit gutted and stumped to say the least, !
Here's the good news though, we were successful in our bid for Sport England Community Asset Fund and this year we have been awarded £100,000 towards creating an urban oasis for you all to relax in. More about that in a moment...
At last, we are now good to go! The funding jigsaw puzzle for fixing up the building, getting Station Green going and getting open finally has all the pieces in place.
Contractors have been appointed and are due to start in July. You’ll start to see a lot more action on the site again and we’ll be documenting the progress and sharing with you in the lead up to our opening.
The big co-design vision can be added on, bit by bit. We will get the foundations right first...and boy, these are some sturdy foundations (now)! We’re looking forward to evolving the indoor and outdoor spaces with you over time. We will have our fully accessible paths, toilets and doors and that was very important to us and to you. That’s a good start!
Here’s some detail about who is helping us get the project over the line in 2021:
At the turn of the year, Key Fund’s ‘Power To Change’ grant and loan blended finance confirmed we were good to go, investment ready and thus, awarded us the social investment required to push forward with our final phase to get open.
“Over the past 2 years, I have had the pleasure of connecting with Abigail and the Station South team. From early stage enquiry, to a Reach Fund (Funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment) business development award, to building a strong case for investment, I’ve seen the dedication, vision and resilience of the team at first hand.
One of their many strengths is that the Station South team are tremendously well-connected locally and to other social businesses and know so very well Station South, its supporters and the area they are serving.
The community hub at the Station offers great ways for people to interact with others safely for each stage of “de-lockdown”, and I am looking forward to seeing the cycling, community, social and cultural activities and events grow. I wish I had a Station South where I live!”
This funding will help us begin to transform Station Green!
It will create an accessible path up to Station South, a Learn To Ride area for toddlers, a bike station shipping container for repairs, a beautiful urban community garden, plenty of bike storage across the site and free to use bike tools onsite to fix up your own bike.
Station Green will evolve over the next few years and we look forward to adding in the big vision elements as we push forward, with your help to shape it, love it and use it!
Once the new contractors have finished on site (the next phase of contracted works will take 16 weeks to complete (fingers crossed there’s no surprises hiding in the station keeper's rooms (basement) and all stays on target!) it will be full steam ahead for the finishing touches, staffing and volunteers on site to launch!
Thanks for bearing with us on this epic journey! We can’t wait to get stuck in with all of you who have offered your help as we get closer to Station South open to the public!