STALYBRIDGE Station has been transformed into a community hub, a space for art, fitness, shopping and free mental health and financial advice.
And a three-week pilot, in November – part of Platforms For All, a Transport for Greater Manchester initiative – was a taste of what the future holds.
It enabled commuters and local residents to take part in free activities and workshops provided by social enterprises, including craft lessons, mental health awareness, loan shark advice, meditation and a community gym.
The station also hosted an art exhibition from Global Grooves, showcasing their colourful carnival creations.
Platforms For All is a TfGM initiative that transforms the city-region’s rail stations into community hubs.
TfGM, who are working in partnership with TransPennine Express and local social enterprises to deliver the initiative at Stalybridge, believe this innovative approach enhances stations, stimulates local pride and creates community ownership.
In the case of Stalybridge Station, TransPennine Express has provided a room to be a community hub while TfGM has provided the equipment to fit it out.
Councillor Doreen Dickinson, vice chair of the TfGM and Tameside councillor, said: “We believe train stations have the potential to be at the heart of local communities.
“For three weeks Platforms For All transformed Stalybridge station into a space where people could see new art, pick up a lovely Christmas gift or learn some money management tips.
“Train stations have always been about journeys, but we want to make them great destinations as well.”
Billy Vickers, Manchester Hub Station Manager for TransPennine Express, added: “We were delighted to run this project in partnership with TfGM.
“We are committed to the communities we serve and this new initiative gave customers the chance to gain something extra from their journey whether it was bit of exercise, the chance to get creative or getting some free financial advice.
“I hoped as many people as possible got to see Platforms For All and how we are making the most of our stations.”
You can find out more about Platforms For All and see the full programme of events at: www.tfgm.com/platforms-for-all
For information on public transport across Greater Manchester go online: www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.