We're restoring an old railway station to its former glory and need your help to transform it into a destination cycle café, bar, co-working space and permaculture inspired garden!
We're Station South - a passionate, creative and abundantly social Community Interest Company set up by three Levenshulme residents (Abigail, Mark and Pauline) with our shared aim to restore this beautiful building and the skills and determination to run a great cycle café from it in the near future.
We’ll be based at the heart of an urban village along the A6 in Levenshulme, on the UK’s longest urban cycleway (The Fallowfield Loop) in a re-imagined Victorian railway station.
We'll refurbish Levenshulme Station South into a warm and welcoming space and set up a business which will sustain its long term future as an independent, environmentally friendly active travel hub, support Levenshulme and neighbours intrinsically and benefit the wider cycling community of Manchester, Stockport and beyond.
We'll be open in Summer 2019 and we're going to listen to our customers, volunteers and staff along the way and ensure that Station South will be an open, creative, ethical, low-carbon and socially minded venture that people really want to visit, with or without bikes!
The Station South Cafe and Bar will be the core of our business and we’re committed to serving wholesome, quality and healthy food which will also be good value.
The vision for Station South is being developed in collaboration with the community. We're confident there's demand and desire for our business in Levenshulme and the support we've received so far has been overwhelming. In April 2017, we asked 536 potential customers:
“What is important to you when choosing a place to eat in Levenshulme?” The answers revealed the top three choices as ‘Quality, Value and Healthy’
Alongside, we have listened to other areas of research and realise the opportunity to install a food service that provides locally sourced, seasonal produce and will offer lots of delicious plant based options to meet our customer demands and reduce our carbon footprint.
We will also be working on innovative schemes to reduce our use of packaging and encouraging our suppliers and customers to do the same. Our future food waste from the café will also be composted on site with other green waste for use in the gardens
Alongside the Station South café and bar, we'll operate additional, complementary services which will include:
- The Work Station (co-working and hot-desk spaces)
- Bike Station (bike repair, bike equipment and bike and trailer hire)
- The Goods Depot (gift and food retail)
- The Viewing Platform (flexible event/meeting space)
- Station Green (outdoor space with permaculture inspired gardens, informal play area, a shipping container, with green roof incorporating an environmental and arts project classroom and cycle workshop and accessible path from greenway to Station South)
- Artvert - The Social Advertising Board (outside art gallery and advertising board)
We'll develop the garden and outside shipping container, classroom and workshop space as a place to learn and share a variety of skills including organic food growing and wildlife habitat creation and management and connect more local people back to nature in our bustling city.
By creating a welcoming space for all to experience the benefits of active travel we aim to make it really simple to try out riding a bike, a cargo bike, a trailer, to have a go at an electric bike or to enjoy a tandem ride.
Our commitment to increasing cycling confidence (and campaigning for safer routes to support ), developing bike maintenance skills for new cyclists, creating a celebratory active culture will ensure there are different positive options for local residents.
We will also go that step further by establishing a car-share scheme at Station South and providing electric car and bike charging points on site.
We hope that by creating more local employment and a busier local high street, alongside our local co-working opportunities (with an abundance of cycling facilities) we will reduce the need to commute and reduce the impact of commuting.
Our long term vision is to create a multi-purpose building which facilitates a diverse range of activities, projects and services that will improve the health, social, cultural, educational, environmental and employment-related outcomes for the community and be enjoyed by visitors from near and far.
This is the bit where we bashfully blow our own trumpet, to let you know how passionate we are about the building we’re saving and the business we aim to run out of it. So here's a bit of background about what we've been up to behind the scenes.
18 months ago, we got to work to do something about the unused, unloved and dilapidated old railway station lying empty on our high street in Levenshulme.
We knew this was a building of local, historical significance and wanted to preserve a bit of Manchester's rich railway heritage too so we developed a plan to engage meaningfully with the landlord, convince them that building had a bold and bright future and seek a restoration collaboration and tenancy to save it and help get us in the building.
A condition report was carried out by an experienced heritage building surveyor and we were shocked to hear the building was on its last legs!
"The building is seen to be at a point where unless significant expenditure is made and directed appropriately, the exponential increases in expenditure thus arising are likely to make remedial works uneconomic leaving demolition as the only potential option"
This news bolstered our plans and determination and kickstarted the Station South takeover and the first phase of restoration which started this Spring 2018.
Some of of the achievements to date include:
- 200K+ investment into the building by Railway Paths Ltd and
Railway Heritage Trust
- Agreeing a 25 year lease on the building to a Community Interest Company/Charity only.
- A legal agreement that ensures future use of the building must 'actively support walking and cycling in the local community'
- A new, fully insulated roof to be completed in Summer 2018
- Salvaged parquet and development of a future heritage restoration programme
- Environmental report and development of eco-strategy for building with leading sustainability designers Urbed providing a feasibility report on how we deliver a sustainable and low-carbon building fit for the future.
- First step discussions with Groundwork, who are passionate about using green infrastructure to ensure developments are adapted to and mitigate against climate change to help us maximise the use of sustainably sourced and recycled materials in our green space and urban food growing provision and
- and to employ SuDs and a green roof in our landscape designs.
- Entering partnerships with local organisations and progressive businesses
- Securing initial development funding from Architectural Heritage Fund and
Manchester City Council.
- Gaining support from organisations and future stakeholders such as British Cycling, National Cycling Centre, Sustrans, Railway Heritage Trust, Railway Paths Ltd, Manchester City Council, Levenshulme Market, One Manchester and The Friends of The Fallowfield Loop.
- Building a strong base of willing volunteers and an active online community of restoration supporters
In addition, we are striving through the development and refinement of our business planning to increase our positive environmental impact for the long term. We'll draw on permaculture principles and use the renewable resources available to us to encourage the increasingly environmentally aware local economy driven by the desire of residents in our area.
Our initial environmental report has highlighted a number of actions we can take at the outset to reduce the energy use of the business to a minimum including careful installation of floor and wall insulation, choosing water saving devices and low energy lighting. Installation of solar panels on the new roof is also a key priority.
We still have a long journey ahead, but we're driven to continue a phased, collaborative approach to the building restoration, environmental performance and heritage protection and with your help to get us in the building sooner, it will be totally achievable!
The Station South team have ensured 100K has been invested from Railway Paths Ltd matched with 100K of support from the Railway Heritage Trust for the first phase of works.
This will see the conservation and vital refurbishment of the external envelope of the building and internal and external repairs to the roof completed by Summer 2018.
We’ve also agreed further investment from Railway Paths Ltd for the next phase of restoration of the building which means it will be straight to work on the second phase of building repairs that include brickwork, connecting mains drainage and essential repair work to the building frontage.
This crowdfunding campaign is about what happens after the next phase of essential works and how you can support us to get in the building as soon as possible to take our vision one step further!
We have developed a strong financial plan which includes a low interest loan and grant mix, alongside director investment and individual investment opportunities. Station South will not be a grant dependent business in the future and will have multiple income streams which will support financial sustainability and local job creation. We’re crowdfunding to lower our upfront debt as a social enterprise, enabling us to deliver on our ethical commitments from the start.
Raising funds via crowdfunding will provide the capital needed to prepare for essential works and some of the key elements of the fit out, done in a way that matches our commitment to using sustainable materials, reducing our carbon footprint as a building and business and strengthening our environmental principles as the project develops.
We believe there is great support from our advocates, friends and future customers for a project of this ambition and believe you will come out in force and pledge to give us that financial boost we need get us into the building.
By pledging your support or choosing one of our amazing rewards you can ensure we continue the progress we have made so far and be part of the story of the Station South’s future success.
With your help you will support us to:
- Do more vital refurbishment including essential floor repairs
- Fix up the salvaged parquet floor into the Station South dance-floor
- Build the 'Track of Champions' bar using wood salvaged from Manchester Velodrome)
- Install bike parking facilities from our opening.
- Support the creation of an accessible pathway directly from The Fallowfield Loop cycle and walking path.
We think we have something on offer for everyone. Here's a pic of some of our rewards!
A2 Limited Edition Art Print
A3 Riso Prints
Advert on A6 - Stockport Road
Parquet Floor Tile Dance Floor
Events - Food, Live Music and Party
We hope we've convinced you to support us and pledge whatever you can to help get us in the building. We've put together a great selection of rewards as a big thank you for lending your support to us.
We hope you'll get on board with us and help complete the next part of the journey of the beautiful, original Levenshulme Station building into the future Station South vision!
The Building - July 2018