London Midland plants community roots

Aston station adoption planting project helps local people grow.

A London Midland planting project is helping to restore confidence and independence to people experiencing mental ill health, whilst making Aston station more welcoming for customers.

Aston station’s new ten-strong adoption team, formed of volunteers and staff from Aston’s Park Lane Garden Centre, has brought a welcome burst of colour to the station with newly-installed garden planters.

Park Lane Garden Centre is part of the Better Pathways ‘Positive about mental health’ initiative, which engages with adults experiencing mental health problems and supports their recovery through education, volunteering and employment at the Centre. The Aston station adoption aims to help volunteers from the Centre to develop new skills and independence to aid their recovery, as well as helping them to get into work.

The garden planters, installed by London Midland’s property team, have been filled by the adopters with pansies, ivy and heathers grown at the garden centre. They will be maintained by the team through the seasons to ensure the station stays looking its best. The team is also planning to pass on planting expertise to rail customers using the station by holding occasional pop-up gardening workshops.

Faye Lambert, head of community rail at London Midland, said: “We are inspired by the work of Better Pathways and Park Lane Garden Centre, which is making a real difference to the lives of those who have experienced mental illness. So I am delighted that we are able to support this through our Adopt a Station scheme, and give the team a new opportunity to work together, learn and share new skills and be a key part of their local community and their railway.”

Kerry Evans, team leader at Park Lane Garden Centre, commented: “With mental health frequently coming under the spotlight, it’s great to show people the work we’re doing to support members of our community.

“When we found out about Adopt a Station through providing the plants for the adoption of Smethwick Rolfe Street station, we knew this would be a great opportunity to help our Park Lane team. We are all so proud of the new planter displays at Aston. The project is already giving the team a real sense of achievement and we are excited about what else we can accomplish through Adopt a Station in the future.”