Whitegate Station Community Group
In the 1800’s the railway line was principally used for freight to and from the numerous salt works in the Winsford area, via the station, to Cuddington to join the Chester - Manchester line (approx 10km in length). It was restored in 1892 and ran passenger services until 1931. The mid station was closed in 1963 and the line finally closed in 1968. In the 1970s the course of the disused railway was turned into a footpath and bridle way, since then Cheshire West and Chester Council have developed the Whitegate Way into a successful tourist attraction serving the local community and tourists visiting the area. It has accessibility for wheelchairs and push chairs and a picnic area with car parking and toilet facilities. The line now provides a haven for wildlife, is a pleasant place for a stroll or ride and offers spectacular views across the Cheshire. In 2015 the community of Whitegate took over the sole management of the old Station Café to run it as a community venture providing a social & purposeful opportunity for local volunteers (particularly the more vunerable) and to serve tourists and the local community. Cheshire West and Chester Council still retain ownership of the carparks and the walk way itself.
Given the local importance of the cafe, the community decided upon the following structure:
A company to administer the cafe - Whitegate Station Community Group Limited’ incorporated in 29 May 2015 Reg.No.09614478.
A board of 4 volunteer directors.
A steering group of 8 volunteers.
A team of 35+ volunteers to run the cafe.
We started to run the Station Cafe in 2015 and to safeguard it's continuation, we are currently negoiating a 30 year lease with the Council.
The volunteers who run the cafe draw their numbers from the local community, local children under the Duke of Edinburgh's Scheme and from a nearby disabled adult centre. The main attraction for volunteers appears to be doing something for their community and meeting with their pier group in a very friendly environment. I have been active within this Group since late 2017, initially providing help and advice with the lease and planning proposals and have recently accepted a position of Director. Like the other volunteers I enjoy meeting other locals and after some 30 years in industry, it is good to 'put something back'.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
As a not for profit organisation, we are constantly raising money to survive and enhance what we do. We are currently embarking on a much needed kitchen extension to provide the volunteers with a better working environment. Your grant would provide funding for a twin cooker (currently we don't have one) which would help us extend our menu options and develop the cooking skills of disabled and younger volunteers.
"Julie Ellis (Director)
"The Whitegate Station Cafe is a really special and unique place within our community's heart providing not just a cup of tea but an thoughtful insight into a by-gone era of steam trains"."