· £4.6m improvement scheme completed at Brockenhurst station
· Official opening of improved facilities by 12 year old Connor Gardner from Honeypot House Children?s Charity
· New footbridge and lifts make the station fully accessible
Passengers travelling from Brockenhurst station are now benefitting from a £4.6 million improvement scheme that has provided access for all at the station.
Connor Gardner, a 12 year old graduate from local charity, Honeypot House and Arthur Pretorius, Customer Service Director of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, officially opened the new station footbridge and lifts on Friday (4 August 2014).
The multi-million pound scheme has been delivered as part of the Government’s Access for All programme. Step-free stations offer accessible routes from entrance to platform. Making stations more accessible not only benefits disabled people and those with reduced mobility, but also elderly passengers or those with children, heavy luggage or shopping.
The South West Trains- Network Rail Alliance invited 12 year old Connor Gardner to open the facilities by unveiling a plaque. Connor is a graduate of Honeypot Children’s Charity, one of the Alliance’s charities of the year. Honeypot House based a short distance from Brockenhurst Station offers respite care to children, many of whom spend time caring for a loved one. Connor’s Mum, Rhonda Shirley, 33 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010 and Connor has supported her ever since. Transport minister Baroness Kramer said:
“We are committed to building a rail network that everyone can use, and the work at Brockenhurst will make a real difference to passengers, making it easier for people to get to work and leisure opportunities, and helping to secure lasting economic growth. Together with the £38 billion being spent on improving and maintaining the network over the next five years, this is yet more evidence that the UK’s railways are booming.”
Arthur Pretorius, Customer Services Director for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said,
“Our stations are the gateway to our services and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to access our stations and trains. We would like to thank the Department for Transport for their support in driving forward these improvements which will make a huge difference to many local residents and visitors to the New Forest. I am delighted that Connor was able to come along and open the facilities on behalf of the Honeypot Children’s Charity, one of our chosen charities of the year. The work carried out by the charity is vital to hundreds of children and we’re very proud to be-able to support them in their work. Honeypot plays a crucial role in the local community at Brockenhurst and as a station with a strong community feel; it is great that the charity could help us mark these improvements.”
In addition, the South West Trains- Network Rail Alliance also presented Honeypot Children’s Charity with two bikes. As part of a new arrangement, the Alliance will be donating a number of bikes that have been abandoned at stations and since reconditioned to the charity. Emma Larter, Community and Trusts Manager for Honeypot House said,
“We’re delighted that we could come along to help open these facilities. Brockenhurst station is the home of Honeypot House and we very much feel like we are part of this important community so we’re pleased to be-able to celebrate with them in this way.”
“In addition, the donation of bikes to the charity is great news. At Honeypot House we offer a whole range of activities to our visiting children, by providing us with bikes we are able to offer more experiences and therefore memories to help enhance their stay with us.”