The Station Project

In December 2017 fifteen volunteers adopted the station and a survey of over 200 villagers, local businesses and commuters showed 100% support for the project, 30% offered funding.  The village has prehistoric and medieval artefacts, links to the civil war, historic houses and a nationally recognised nature reserve. The station has a military history back to World War 1.

Funding was successfully sought from National Lottery, Nottinghamshire County Council, Tesco’s Bags of Help, local donors and businesses to install planters and history/story boards on the two platforms.

  • In April 2018 Platform 1 was planted out –  volunteers had built 12 planters from recycled materials and mainly donated plants. All planters had a red corydaline with coreopsis, helenium, grasses, aquilegia, jasmine, hosta, astrantia major, verbena and mexican daisy. There are some clematises, ivy, lychnis coronia, alcamila mollis, rudbeckia and hardy geranimum. The Elderflowers introduced more annuals to provide diversity within the standard plan with nasturtiums, marigolds, saxifraga, poppies and tender geranimums. All plants are non-poisonous and autumn planting was carried out with heathers, spring bulbs, hellebores, cyclamen and winter pansies. Children at a pre-school nursery have a planter to tend which includes crocosmia, helenium, geraniums, chives, viola, wild strawberry, alcamila mollis, miniature dahlia and mexican daisy.

The drought of summer 2018 was testing (the only water source being from rain runoff from the station bridge). The Elderflowers had a torrid time bringing water from home in bottles using shopping trollies and wheel barrows!

In  October 2018 Platform 2 was planted out – eight self -watering planters have proved successful. Plants include conifers, sage, rosemary and curry, heather, thrift, tulips, daffodils, small hebe, sempervivum, pansies, violas, hosta and variegated ivies. These were supplemented by 4 barrels with holly, viburnam, weeping cotoneaster and lonicera nitida shrubs on platform 2 and a wildlife area with a Bug Hotel and wildflower planter on platform 1. With the centenary of the end of WWI the Elderflowers provided poppies on planters and wreaths.

  1. Over 200 villagers and commuters responded to surveys and so influenced the proposals
  2. Posters at the station,  Just Giving, leaflets to 1000 homes and media releases to the local free press encouraged donations and support. Every initiative resulted in more donations.
  3. Over 20 people contributed to building and painting 13 planters including Shedders, shedders the local branch of the international project to support older people who are isolated or disengaged from their local community or are experiencing major changes in life
  4. Local businesses provided recycled materials and sponsored planters.
  5. EMT helped plan and deliver the community planting days – both started early morning and completed by mid-afternoon – exactly to plan! Network Rail and East Midlands Trains employees worked with Elderflowers,  the pre-school children and other volunteers. Senior Big Lottery staff, civic dignitaries and our MP attended
  6. Each Elderflower takes responsibility for watering, weeding and  maintaining one or two planters.
  7. Pre-school children under supervision maintain a large planter.
  8. Planters have been sponsored by local families and memorial plaques recognise their contributions.
  9. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust provided the bug hotel which is in the shape of a station logo.
  10. Residents and the Elderflowers have helped develop the history boards installed in summer 2019.
  11. Regular project updates through emails, Just Giving and eight newsletters were sent to volunteers, donors and supporters and generated interest and a good turnout on the community days when a commemorative leaflet was provided.
  12. Fourteen planters are made from recycled water tanks, wood and ballast whilst all 25 are peat free; water is used sparingly; bees and butterflies are now residents and visitors.

Results

Over 50 volunteers of all ages including the Elderflowers, family and friends have worked together in a fine example of community cohesion. They

  • Carried out surveys, designed posters and leaflets, set-up webpages pages seeking donations
  • Managed a communications and publicity campaign using leaflets, local free press and email newsletters
  • Successfully sought Big Lottery and Council funding
  • Planned the project across the seasons
  • Built nd painted planters
  • Grew plants from seed

There are now 17 Elderflower adopters tending and watering the planters. They are all retired/semi-retired and are lot fitter since the adoption! A further 9 volunteers help with  watering and growing plants from seed. The church pre-school children keep their area maintained.

The hours undertaken by the volunteers are in excess of 2750 however as several the volunteers didn’t record all their time on the station the actual figure is well in excess of 3000

Residents come to the station, sitting amongst the planters, taking in the sun.

Young children come and watch trains go by and look at the plants with their carers (often grandparents). Some teenagers with autism similarly find the station attractive now.

A visit to the station is almost always accompanied by passengers thanking Elderflowers for their work in making the station such a good place to wait for the trains.  

Many donors have offered regular donations.

The early success has already delivered more adopters and volunteers and they are recruiting more and, hopefully, younger Elderflowers.

Thanks to Sponsors, Donors and Volunteers – without all their help the garden could never have been delivered.

Attenborough Elderflowers, donators of care, time and money: Alison Scrimshaw, Ann Davinson, Jill Mumby, Barbara Jarratt, Cilla Lloyd, Gillian Ryrie, Gillian Hallam, Hillary Lippmann, Jan Bell, Jennie Goodyer, Lorraine Culley, Margaret Blakeborough, Verna Smerdon-White, Ulla Granger, Jill Mumby, Gary Smerdon-White, John Dainton, Honorary Elderflower Kate Parnell EMT

Local Sponsors

Attenborough Women’s Institute, Attenborough Cricket Club, Beeston Round Table, Bespoke Joinery Service, Councillor Eric Kerry Nottinghamshire County Council Councillors’ Divisional Fund, East Midlands Trains, Jonathan Fox Estate Agents, Landmark For Landscaping and Garden Maintenance, Middle Street Resource Centre Shedders, Plant Revelations, Robert Ellis Estate Agents, The Children of Attenborough Pre-School, Chilwell Manor Golf Club, Attenborough Cricket Club, Nixtec, Attenborough Village Green Association, Simpson Bros, Steve Brooks.

Volunteers Harriet Smerdon-White, Helen Hemstock, Jake Smerdon-White, Lee Hazeldine, Andy Pooley, Tim Sexton, Joan Kolomyjec, Phil Davison

Donors

Val and Alan Brooks, Alix and Jan Tystad, Colin and Helen Maber, Graham Machin, Howard and Louise Downs, Jack Demaine, Joanna and Mark Smith, Mike and Sharon Reeder, Meila Smerdon-White, Ron and Margaret Glen, Ceryl Stevenson, Lizzy Woodhead, Elaine & Paul Anderton, Jenny Chapman, Ruth Hume, David Brealey, Angel and Mick, The Hammond Family, The Clarke Family, The White Family

Unveiling the Story of Attenborough – Yesterday and Today