Churches and other community hubs in rural Lancashire and Cheshire are prepared for the worst of the winter weather thanks to Railway Mission and Avanti West Coast.
Railway Mission, a Christian faith-based charity that provides the chaplaincy service to the rail industry, was on hand to help when Warrington Bank Quay station was left with 45 bags of unwanted rock salt after the intercity operator swapped to an alternative to de-ice platforms.
Customer Service Assistant and Green Champion Steph Doohan wanted to repurpose the surplus salt to benefit local communities and reached out to Railway Mission Chaplain Mike Roberts.
Mike, who supports staff at 12 Avanti West Coast stations and crews based in Liverpool, Preston, Manchester and Carlisle, said: “I approached several of my contacts who were delighted to make use of the rock salt.
“Bags have been distributed to groups in Belthorn village, including The Dog Inn community-owned pub and shop and three churches, St James Lower Darwen, St James Over Darwen and Woolston Parish Church, East Warrington.
“Yvonne Brown, from Belthorn community group, came to Warrington and we moved the bags from the station. It was heavy work as we loaded just over 1,000kg.
“It’s great that Avanti West Coast is supporting local communities and making a conscious effort to do the green thing.”
Yvonne said: “We’re really grateful for Avanti’s support in getting us winter-ready and to Mike for making that connection for us. The salt will help to keep the village safe.”
Leonie Purvis, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Warrington Bank Quay, said: “I’m really proud of the efforts of Steph and the team, as well as our Railway Chaplain, to find a good home for the salt as we want to make a positive difference to the people and places we serve.
“Donating the bags is a brilliant idea to responsibly repurpose our unwanted materials and we hope they will serve the many community groups well this winter.”
Railway Mission is a national charity which provides a regionally-based chaplaincy service aiming to be an impartial ‘friend’ to those who work on the railway. Regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation or position in the industry, chaplains offer face-to-face year-round support, especially during an individual’s time of loneliness, stress, depression, bereavement or illness.
Photo credit: Railway Mission