Bolton Station Community Partnership (BSCP) was formed in late 2017 to prepare plans for a community gala at Bolton station on June 30th 2018, to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of steam traction and the closure of Bolton’s loco shed. The event became a major community event involving schools, community groups and a range of local bodies. From the success of the event (attracting over 2000 people) it was decided to continue the partnership’s work and look to bring much of the unoccupied space on the station back to use for the community.
Northern offered immediate occupancy (on an informal basis) of the former Guards’ Messroom on Platform 5, which is now ‘The Community Room’. Volunteers from the Partnership, Network Rail and ISS brought the room back into being a useable space. In addition, the adjoining former General Waiting Room was transformed into the ‘P5 Platform Gallery’, opened in 2019, and has already hosted a broad programme of exhibitions.
Most recently, the vacant upstairs block on platforms 4/5, once the Northern Training Academy, has also undergone an extensive multi-million-pound refurbishment (funded by Northern and Network Rail) to create a new substantial Community Hub. Discussions are ongoing for a lease on these rooms, and we hope to see the spaces inhabited by community use very soon.
Other projects have also developed in parallel. We have worked with The Prince’s Trust to provide planters at the south end of Platform 4/5, guided walks from the local rail network have been arranged alongside Bolton City of Sanctuary, and monthly open meetings have been held in the Community Room on rail heritage, music and poetry. During the lockdown period in 2020 we also ran a successful poetry competition with the support of ‘Live from Worktown’, and the winners from this competition have their work displayed on the platform pillars.
Our Platform Gallery, P5, goes from strength to strength with a huge selection of art works, poetry, creative writing, live events and films being shown through the year and we continue to support community workshops and support groups in our Community Room next door to the Gallery.