Bolton Station Community Development Partnership (BSCDP) 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.
The University of Bolton expressed interest in being involved in the station project, involving students and community groups in creating a Community Arts Hub in vacant accommodation on Platforms 4/5 including the sizeable upstairs block, once the Northern Training Academy. Discussions are still going on for a tripartite lease between the University of Bolton, Northern and Network Rail for the upstairs area and also the downstairs Community Room and adjoining ‘Platform Gallery’ formerly the ‘General Waiting Room’ which had long been disused. The gallery opened in July 2019 and has already hosted a broad programme of exhibitions
Other projects have developed in parallel, led by the Station Partnership. The station partnership has 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 by the Partnership and local community organisation City of Sanctuary. Monthly open meetings have been held in the Community Room on rail heritage, music and poetry. At the last AGM, it was decided to shorten the name of the group to Bolton Station Community Partnership. Many more exciting projects are in the pipeline for the group including more poetry on the platform pillars and a multi-cultural Mela or festival which has recently been re-scheduled for July 2021.