Teenagers give Thetford train station a spring clean

A small group of Norfolk teenagers are helping to make their town a much more appealing place for tourists by giving the train station a much needed makeover.

The three volunteers from Thetford Youth Council have been giving the station a spring clean and planting two new gardens in areas of grass behind the platforms using plants they have grown at allotments in the town.

Omar Atillah, 17, Jackson Toynbee, 16 and Luke Betts, 16, all from Thetford started the clean up last weekend after the council adopted the historic site and as well as the garden work they have also been litter picking and reporting any damage or faults they spot around the premises to rail operator Greater Anglia.

The trio, who visit the station every weekend, have been overseen by the council’s youth worker and the work is part of a broader project which will also involve the creation of two hanging baskets on both platforms, while in the longer term boards around the station could be used for artwork and a coffee shop could be opened, run by youth councillors.

Once completed, the councillors hope the gardens will have a colourful display of perennials including sweetpea, lupins and marigolds while brambles behind the gardens will be removed to make more space for the display.

Mr Attilah said: “The fulfilment comes from helping to make the station look a better place for when tourists come to the visit the town. We want their first impression of the town to be a positive one and we want to give something back to the community.”

The youth council was formed in 2006 for young people in the town who felt they did not have anyone to represent their views and since then the council has helped run a youth disco and has been involved with skatepark plans.

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Mr Wilkinson said: “The gardening has been a source of refuge for some of the youngsters who have found it quite relaxing. The allotments have been a place to go and relax if they are feeling angry.”

Any local groups, organisations, and businesses who would be prepared to either donate or sponsor a hanging basket or plants for the gardens can contact Mr Wilkinson on 01366 728797 or 07712 578721 or e-mail mike.g.wilkinson@btinternet.com.