Aviva Community Fund Winners!
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway has won a £25,000 grant from the Aviva Community Fund towards the cost of building a brand new Visitor Centre at Winchcombe station.
The new centre will provide a range of visitor facilities at the station, which lies about half way between Cheltenham and Broadway: towards which the line is currently being extended.
The centre will primarily be used to provide educational facilities for the growing number of school visits to the railway - such as the popular ‘wartime evacuation’ days.
In addition, the two-storey, stone-built building will be available for public use such as supplementing local village hall facilities; a display space for local arts and crafts events and exhibitions; a training facility for the railway’s volunteer staff; use as a reception facility for special occasions such as the railway’s popular ‘Santa Specials’ and to house the railway’s archives.
The ‘Honeybourne Line’ won the Award after stiff competition from other organisations around the UK, for funding ranging from £1,000 to £25,000 as part of the 2016 Aviva Community Fund. The nationwide initiative was launched in September 2016 and called on local people to submit a project close to their heart, to be in with a chance of securing funding.
The Fund’s aim is to galvanise support of local people for projects in six categories: health, disability and well-being; supporting the younger generation; supporting the older generation; sport in the community; environment (in association with The Mirror) and community support. Over 5 million votes were placed with 450 projects benefitting overall.
Chris Bristow, the railway’s volunteer finance director, says: “This is a tremendous success and that so many people voted for the Visitor Centre at Winchcombe, resulting in the £25,000 award, speaks volumes for the affection that people have for our railway.
“I want to thank all of those who voted and of course, Aviva, for making this possible.
“The project ticks several of the Fund’s aims. We are playing an increasingly important role in the lives of local people as well as the wider tourism economy and this project will help to cement that relationship for the long-term.”
The total cost of the new visitor centre is £300,000 including fitting out. Apart from the Aviva grant, funding is coming from the Friends of Winchcombe Station and the charitable Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust.