Two rooms at Swaythling station, that at the start of 2020 had been unused for many years, are now helping to reduce waste and support those in need in the local community.
In January, Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership (CRP), a not-for-profit organisation setup to further connect locals with their railway, took the first two rooms of the SWR project to offer disused spaces for a peppercorn rent. Its intention was to transform these spaces into a facility that could support the area with its own, and other, organised activities.
Although development work was slowed due to COVID, the CRP recently worked with a local contractor to replace joists, lay new floor tiles, add heaters and plug sockets, and uncover the building’s old fireplace.
The space is now thriving as a Free Shop – an innovative programme collecting food, which would otherwise be thrown away, to be redistributed to people who can make use of it. Donations are made by supermarkets, and encouraged from other sources.
Groceries are supplied, without means testing, to anyone from the local area.