Before lockdown, our President Mike Jenn and Chief Officer, Charlie Bethel met with the Railway Heritage Trust to build upon a programme they have been delivering for a number of years.
One of the challenges we are all aware of is finding a suitable property. The Railway Heritage Trust’s objectives are to assist the operational railway companies in the preservation and upkeep of listed buildings and structures, and in the transfer of non-operational premises and structures to outside bodies willing to undertake their preservation. With this in mind Nairn Shed benefitted greatly with support to develop a site at Nairn Railway Station and there is also another Station where work is hopefully about to begin in Scotland.
The Nairn Shed were supported financially by the Railway Heritage Trust to restore and develop the site and as a result the Shed have a lengthy lease and a very favourable rental arrangement with the network operator. John Rushforth, UKMSA Trustee and member of Nairn Men’s Shed said, In terms of Nairn Men’s Shed is a massive supporter of the Railway Heritage Trust and their support. John said, “Nairn Men’s Shed have been really pleased to work with the Railway Heritage Trust they have been very supportive partners with the work we have completed and have shown a commitment to support our next ventures on the Station. With luck, this will include the 2 signal boxes one of which will be for our model railway enthusiasts.
We were asked by the Trust to put forward the building for their national awards and the Shed were runners up to a project that cost 1.5 million as opposed to the 10K Nairn Shed spent on the whole project.”
Following the meeting in London we have been working with an operator in Wales, together with Welsh Men’s Sheds and I have also met with East Midlands Railway.
All Rail Operators are different, but in the case of the East Midlands Railway they have identified thirty stations where there is potential space for a Shed and many more for Sheds to engage with in different ways. Many of these stations are in busy stations and offer new and existing Sheds who are looking for new premises an unbelievable opportunity. In each of these sites we would be able to apply for funding for materials to convert and refresh the building. East Midlands Railways will also have financial support to ensure there are appropriate services and alarms etc in the Sheds.
The meeting with East Midlands Railway happened in the last few days before social isolation and as you can imagine we are on hold in progressing this opportunity for the moment. So, how do you get involved if you are interested.
UKMSA member Sheds which are local to the identified stations will be contacted by our regional Shed Ambassadors to scope out where there is interest.
Outside of the East Midlands then we ask you go online to the relevant Heritage site –
Cadw Welsh Historic Monuments, Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland , all of whom work with the Railway Heritage Site. If there is a railway site near you, then it might be an opportunity for your Shed or for the development of a new Shed.
Not all stations and spaces have suitable space, and those that have commercial opportunities will often not be available – but you might be surprised!
If you find a potential venue then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can follow up on your behalf.