In the short term we are working hard on renovation and refurbishment of the track, engine shed, fencing and station, to ensure that the train can be up and running again for the Summer of 2017.
This in itself is tremendous, but for the long term we also have a lot of exciting plans that are beginning to take shape…
We would very much like to make this popular attraction accessible to all, so are planning on providing carriages with disabled access. This will necessitate wider carriages which will run on an extended track. The carriages will also be able to carry overhead cover for inclement British weather!
To carry wider carriages, a new track will need to be laid, and via a different route, as the current route passes through the brick entrance to the bridge, which restricts the possible width of the carriages.
The new track layout will bypass the bridge and take a longer route around the current compost heap (which will be relocated), the little lake and back past the newly planned playground.
In addition to a new track, train and longer route, we are also intending to rebuild the Engine Maintenance Shed to better maintain the new facilities and build a new Train Station to provide an improved focal point for social interaction.
Plans for additional activities and focal points of interest also include wildlife projects, flora and fauna installations and children’s entertainment.
In conjunction with the new Engine Maintenance Shed, we are looking to provide a new meeting point for Men’s Shed, a fantastic charity that aims to create larger versions of the typical man’s shed in the garden – a place where he feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of autonomy.
A Men’s Shed offers this to a group of such men where members share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A place of leisure where men come together to work.
A Shed’s activities usually involve making or mending in wood (e.g. carpentry, joinery, turning, carving, whittling, marquetry, furniture renovation) but may include metalworking (milling, sheet metal, welding, etc.) bike repair, gardening, electronics, tool renovation, boat renovation, model engineering (model railways, planes) and even building a car! Reclamation, reuse and restoration will feature strongly – and some say that is true of the men too! Although Sheds mostly attract older men, some have included men of any age, women and young people and the focus is very much on the network of relationships between the members.
TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to providing an activity focal point for the local community, we have been working hard on plans to create possible training and employment opportunities in the fields of retail, tourism, engineering, customer service and event management.
The ethos, ideals and goals behind these projects are not Lillipution, and we would glady welcome input, help and support from those whose lives may be enriched by the facilities that the park has to offer.