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September 29, 2010

Station makeover kicks starts renewal

It’s hard to predict what will kick-start a community into taking action. Sometimes a threat, sometimes an opportunity. Often small achievements build confidence and lead to greater things. Some time ago, the community council in Burnside took up the challenge issued by Network Rail to adopt a station.  Before long, not only was the station given a makeover but work to improve the physical environment had spread much wider

Douglas Dickie, Rutherglen Reformer

REPRESENTATIVES from First Scotrail were this week shown around Burnside to see the impact their station improvements have had on the wider area.

The group started their Adopt a Station project, which aimed to improve the outlook of the area, two years ago.

The offer was quickly taken up by Burnside Community Council and the project eventually led to the popular Burnside in Bloom.

The two projects have transformed both the station and the shopping area with the introduction of flowers.

And the First Scotrail officers were delighted to see how much of an impact their initial idea had made across the whole area.

They were shown around by MSP Robert Brown, who lives in Burnside and initially suggested the idea to the Community Council, Provost Russell Clearie and Community Council chair Malcolm Piggot.

John Yellowless, external relations manager for Scotrail, said: “We are delighted the Adopt a Station scheme has been the catalyst for wider community initiatives.”

Malcolm Piggot said that both schemes had brought a noticeable difference to the area.

“The Adopt a Station initiative gave the community council a platform and impetus for a broader effort to address some of the wider problems,” he said.

“A slow decline in the shopping centre area has become a steady improvement in the visual and commercial environment.

“A new self-confidence is evident and people are noticing the difference. Burnside is on its way back.

“Burnside has had some challenges, with school kids – and indeed some adults – littering the area, and with some issues of antisocial behaviour.

“Where there had previously been clear evidence of people not valuing their environment, the floral displays have really helped to turn this round.

“The area has noticeably seen other improvements too – from the new Tesco to the recently opened Café Gelato, which all feed into a sense that Burnside is a community which is going places.”

MSP Robert Brown said: “The Burnside in Bloom project really is an example of community action at its best.

“Not only do the plants transform the area, improving the general look, they have also helped to stimulate a new pride in our neighbourhood.

“From the seeds of the Adopt a Station project, a wider initiative has blossomed, bringing about improvement to the rest of Burnside – with planters at Burnside Gateway, and the hanging baskets at the shops.

“Flowers are a very powerful weapon in making an area look good. Anyone who has been to Uddingston will know how successful they have been there with pretty much every shop and many private dwellings displaying superb hanging baskets or window boxes of flowers.”

Provost Clearie added: “I have been delighted to support the original Adopt a Station project and to help launch Burnside in Bloom, and I congratulate the local community and Burnside Community Council on what they have achieved.

“Burnside is looking really good, particularly in the summer weather. It really shows the power of a good community initiative.”

Speaking of the visit, Malcolm Piggot added: “It went very well, despite the rain! Everyone has been very pleased with the project so far.

“Next year is going to be bigger and better though. We’re planning on doing even more. That’s why we need volunteers and would encourage anyone interested to get involved.”

For more information visit the Burnside in Bloom website on