6 November 2015

Redhill is a popular commuter station and is due to expand over the next few years. In this interim period YMCA East Surrey was invited to develop the station making it more attractive to commuters.

We met with the station manager at Redhill station who explained that they would like raised beds on the platforms and an art project for the underpass.

It was agreed that the underpass project would be taken on by WAVES (Wellbeing Awareness and Voice for East Surrey). WAVES are a group of YMCA volunteers who are promoting positive mental wellbeing and raising awareness about mental health issues. The group decided to take photographs of Redhill and the surrounding area in a way that would make passersby stop and look twice.

The photographs were taken in October on an autumnal evening. WAVES then spent two sessions editing the pictures using Picasa and one week selecting which ones were worthy of being blown up to A1 for display.

The raised beds were planted by YMCA East Surrey, Earlswood School, County Care and Tesco in Hookwood. Earlswood School run a gardening project and were keen to get children involved in a community project. County Care and YMCA East Surrey have been working together on Don’t Lose The Plot and other community gardening events. Tesco in Hookwood has supported YMCA East Surrey with many projects and has recently been helping with clearing allotments. All three groups dedicated a full day on 6 November to fill and plant up the raised beds. Despite the weather everyone worked tirelessly throughout the day. It was a great effort that brought many members of the local community together.

The projects received support from Barbara Thompson, ACorP and Southern Transport who each donated £500 towards both projects. We also received in an kind donation of compost for all four raised beds from KPS which was organised by Barbara Thompson. Men In Sheds Caterham built the raised beds at a discounted price.

 As with most of these projects a lot of forward planning was involved and none of it could have happened without help from those people mentioned above. From the station staff who helped by shifting (the extremely heavy) planters and marshalling the children, to the Southern train crew mess room staff who found a place for the children to have their lunch and made the adults cups of tea. The staff from KPS who delivered the free compost and were then roped into transferring it to the platforms. And of course to Southern for generously funding the project.

We hope that the passengers at Redhill station appreciate their hard work and that the plants bring some cheer whilst waiting for their trains.