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The grey old train station transformed into something quite special by a group of women; They have worked for eight years making sure it's all pristine and perfect.

Byline: Caitlin O'Sullivan

Station platforms can be dreary places.

Windswept, dull and grey, they are mostly places not to linger for long - unless you really have to.

Not so at Pembrey and Burry Port Station.

There, a group of station adopters fromCarmarthenshirehave been making a positive difference to their community for eight years by looking after their train station.

The voluntary group fromPembreyandBurry Portare one of many who look after unstaffed stations acrossArriva Trains Wales' network.

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Arriva's National 'Adopt a Station' scheme launched in 2004, and since then more than 130 Arriva Trains Wales stations have been adopted by community-driven volunteers across Wales, who receive an annual issue of rail travel vouchers as a token for their hard work.

The three station adopters - Christine Hartley, Mary Hamilton and Val Ives - are from the Cefn Sidan U3A group in Pembrey and Burry Port.

Christine Hartley said: "We've been station adopters at Pembrey and Burry Port for eight years now and it's a great way to socialise, keep active and make new friends.

"We're responsible for maintaining the station grounds and planting flowers to brighten up the appearance of the station. We also provide feedback on any litter or vandalism that appears, so this can be addressed as soon as possible.

"The garden is about 10 feet by two feet, and there are only three of us who take care of it, we're all in our 70s.

"It's not easy, in the winter we go once a month, but in the summer we go about once a week to see what needs doing. There's no water at the station either, so we have to have plants that don't need watering, or we have to carry it down from our houses!"

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She added: "My group has thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Arriva's 'Adopt a Station' scheme so far and hope to continue the good work that brings so much joy to those passing through the station every day.

"I would definitely encourage others looking to give something back to their community to consider becoming a station adopter, it's hard work but great fun and the feedback we've received from passengers definitely makes it worthwhile!

"People coming off the train always come and have a chat, and they appreciated the work we were doing."

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Station adopters are simply asked to complete monthly surveys sent by text, email or post, on matters such as litter, graffiti, vandalism, lighting and timetable information so issues can be addressed by Arriva.

There are also opportunities for volunteers to compete for 'Best Kept Station' titles.

However, 84 stations across the network are still awaiting reliable and kind-hearted individuals to take on their local station and benefit their community.

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Geraint Morgan, community relations manager for Arriva Trains Wales, said: "Our 'Adopt a Station' scheme encourages both individuals and groups to keep active and make new friends, while doing something pro-active for their local community.

"A key task for the role involves submitting two reports a month regarding the appearance of the station and facilities, such as highlighting any issues or problems with lights, timetables and vandalism.

"Any issues or concerns emphasized by the volunteers can then be resolved quickly and effectively by Arriva Trains Wales and the selected station managers.

"Some of our stations also have wonderful gardens and floral displays which are cared for by our station adopters, and many have won national awards for their efforts, providing a pleasant environment for both customers and staff."

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Pembrey and Burry Port train station

Chris Hartley, Mary Hamilton, Val Ives, the three station adopters in Pembrey and Burry Port

Pembrey and Burry Port train station

Pembrey and Burry Port train station

Pembrey and Burry Port train station
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Publication:Wales Online (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 25, 2018
Words:664
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