A specialist local college is delighted to be part of celebrations marking 175 years since the opening of the Gobowen railway line in 1848.
Gobowen railway station, near Oswestry, is marking this significant anniversary on Thursday, 14 September, with local partners Severn Dee Travel, Oswestry Station Buildings Trust, The Community Rail Partnership and specialist college Derwen College. North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan will be among guests at the event.
Derwen College has been running the café at Gobowen Station for 10 years, thanks to independent rail agency Severn Dee Travel. Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) work in the café as part of their work experience, supporting them to secure jobs after College.
The 175-year celebration will see performances by Derwen College’s sign, song and dance group DOT (Derwen on Tour), refreshments served by Hospitality students and a vibrant pop-up shop which showcases the best of the College’s customer Marketplace. Derwen College has also made a birthday cake in honour of the landmark day.
Guests at the event include volunteers, directors and staff of Severn Dee Travel – who run the station ticket office – as well as other stakeholders including staff and students from Derwen College. Customers and commuters are also urged to join in the party which focuses on partnerships, and a shared goal of connecting people and communities.
The pop-up Marketplace shop offers bargains from the College’s The Vintage Advantage charity shop, as well as cakes, bread, jams and chutneys made and sold at Derwen, and plants from the college Garden Centre. The college has received permission from Oswestry Station Buildings Trust to use the buildings for this exciting exhibition.
Gobowen Station Café is run by Derwen College’s Teresa Richards who works with hospitality students and a job coach from the college. Students learn work-ready and independence skills through making and serving drinks, snacks and lunches, dealing with payments and developing people skills when serving customers.
The café and waiting room is also a designated Safe Place in Shropshire’s Safe Place scheme, where vulnerable people can ask for support in an environment where they feel safe.
Derwen College Principal and CEO Meryl Green will be attending the celebration at 11am, along with DOT.
She said: “We have been running the Station Café with Severn Dee Travel for 10 years now. The partnership has given our Hospitality students valuable work experience which supports them to develop skills and find jobs after graduating from College. We are also proud to be part or the local community, and for commuters and customers to meet our students and find out about our college, on their doorstep.
“We were delighted to be asked to be part of the 175th anniversary celebrations, and look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership for many more years to come.”
Sheila Dee, from Severn Dee Travel said:
“The line has a great history – some 175 years’ worth! It’s good to take time out to reflect on the milestones and achievements that have taken place. Severn Dee Travel was set up in 1995 as a not for profit rail agency and the booking office and waiting room opened on what was an unstaffed station. We’ve always had a community ethos and the partnership with the Derwen College and the opening of the work experience cafe has brought benefits to both students and the community. To see such success is very rewarding for all the volunteers and staff that are involved in the business.”
Student Brendan Langan-Hart, who is on the College’s Hospitality and Food pathway, has a weekly work placement at Gobowen Station Café.
He said: “I work at the Station Café every Monday afternoon, serving customers. I love working there. I’m learning skills that will help me to get a job and independence after college.”
Official celebrations will start at Gobowen Station from 10.30am, with canapes, DOT performance and cake presentation at 11am. The Derwen Marketplace pop-up shop will be open on Platform 2 from 8.30am onwards. The Station Café opens every morning at 7.30am. Visitors are asked to take part in a survey which will help with planning for future plans for the station businesses.
Find out more about Derwen College and Derwen Marketplace at www.derwen.ac.uk