ONE of the most historic parts of the town has received a major boost after being awarded a grant to improve community spirit.
The Railway Village and surrounding area has been given £30,000 through the Health Lottery, which has been used to hire a community development co-ordinator, who will oversee activities which will allow residents to come together.
Last month the keys to the community centre were handed over to the Mechanic’s Trust and that will now form the hub from which all the new projects will be carried out from.
Daniel Rose, chairman of the Mechanic’s Trust, said: “Despite its importance to Swindon, the Railway Village is often an area that is overlooked when it comes to funding.
“There are some very acute, specific problems in the neighbourhood and this grant will go a long way to rectifying some of that, as well as delivering some real long-lasting positive activities.
“The Railway Village has always had a lot of issues to deal with, such as all the traffic and proximity to the town centre, but we are all hoping this money can be used to make a big difference.”
The grant came from The People’s Health Trust, an independent charity which works to address health inequalities across the country.
It hands out grants from money raised by the society lotteries run by the Health Lottery.
A three-pronged approach to developing community projects has already been devised.
“Firstly, we will be using more activities for older people who live in the Railway Village,” said Daniel.
“There are not many social activities for that age group so this is an ideal chance to help bring people together.
“We have set up a gardening scheme which will focus around the old Great Western Railway Park and other green areas in the Railway Village.
“With this group we hope to be able to make the area look far more attractive to everyone as well as bringing the residents together.
“For young people, there is almost nothing so that will be a focus for the money.
“We would like to possibly set up a youth group and see what else we can do.
“This money is very positive and we hope it can be used as a springboard to help provide a lift to such an important part of Swindon.”
Sean Haines is the new development officer, and has recently started in the role.
He said: “I am from Swindon and I used to cover this patch when I worked for the council so it’s an area I know well.
“Swindon’s community started here and it’s really about time it had some attention.”