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Friends of Rose Hill station are bringing the community together

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Funds from CrossCountry have been used to great benefit to deliver a sustainable intergenerational project by adopters of Rose Hill (Marple) station.

The historic riverside town of Marple, Greater Manchester, has an ageing population; younger generations are mostly newcomer families with their children growing up there but not connecting with, or having knowledge of, where they live. This brings a lack of intergenerational engagement and active participation in local life and leaves older people with a growing sense of isolation.

Step forward the station adopter group, Friends of Rose Hill (Marple) station, who came up with the idea of a special intergenerational engagement programme using the 150 year old station and its heritage as a focus for people to come together, make friends and learn from each other.

Backed by a grant of £2600 from our core community rail funding provided annually to South East Manchester Community Rail Partnership (SEMCORP), the Friends joined forces with local artist Tracy McGuiness-Kelly and local schools including Marple Hall, to set up a series of intergenerational art workshops.

An open house for everyone, artist or amateur, historian or enthusiast, the sessions served to paint tile 'portraits' of the town, from people to landscapes, for display at the station. In total, 300 tiles were created by people aged from 9 to 90 years.

The availability of funding also enabled the Friends to acquire match-funding from the Big Lottery fund and other partners. Now this innovative way of establishing sustained community friendships can be seen as a permanent art installation at Rose Hill station for passengers and the community to enjoy together.

Project members start to collate the tiles at one of the workshops

One of the artists points out her work at the official opening of the station art mural (Photo by Arthur Proctor)

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