A key part of providing a sustainable future for the Ashburton station project is to encourage active participation and ownership within the local community. This is particularly imperative for the younger generation who will not only be the benefactors, but will also be the people who will keep the project alive in the future. We would like to work with local schools, colleges and other educational institutes during the project and encourage them to play an active part in the restoration and upkeep of the station.
Ashburton Primary school is very close to the site of the current station and it would be very easy to arrange regular visits to the site in order to see the progress being made by the group. With this regular exposure, the children will be encouraged to take an active interest, and the project will develop with them. This we hope will attract the children to take part themselves during their own time during and join our ‘Young Volunteers’ working parties. Working parties will help teach them new skills and give them a sense of ownership for the station and Ashburton.
It is no understatement that the long term aims may take a lifetime to achieve; but with a constant stream of local interest, fostered at an early age, Ashburton will grow in to its station and it will once again become part of the fabric of the community, and not simply a tourist attraction.
We would also be looking to create a package that we can send out to local schools, colleges and other educational institutes to explain the value of the project and what resources we can offer them. Sitting in the classroom reading historical books, looking at old photographs or watching documentaries are important ways of learning about our nation’s rich heritage. However, there is nothing quite like getting ‘hands on’ and seeing, touching and experiencing heritage first hand. We are aiming to create a flexible resource that can be adapted to meet the requirements of the curriculum at various stages, ages and subjects.
Although heritage would form the core of our education centre we have identified addition educational opportunities that could be developed to create a truly useful resource. The opportunities we believe we could offer are;
Railway heritage and history – why the railways were built, what they moved, how they changed the face of the world both economically and socially.
Ashburton heritage – recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Essebretone and has played an important role in the local area ever since including becoming a stannary town in 1305.
Science – Mechanical and civil engineering, physics.
Technology – Wood and metal work.