New air raid shel­ter for SVR

Black Country Bugle - - NEWS -

THE Sev­ern Val­ley Rail­way has been awarded £10,000 fund­ing to con­struct a pur­pose-built An­der­son shel­ter and cov­ered seat­ing area at the En­gine House Vis­i­tor and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre in High­ley.

The project has been made pos­si­ble with a grant from Post­code Lo­cal Trust, a grant-giv­ing char­ity funded en­tirely by play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery.

The wartime Bri­tain ac­tiv­ity is the most pop­u­lar ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme the SVR of­fers to vis­it­ing schools. Pupils board an evac­u­a­tion train at Kid­der­min­ster and are trans­ported back in time to High­ley. They take part in a range of hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties, look­ing at evac­uee suit­cases, as well as 1940s toys, games and arte­facts, and learn­ing about ra­tioning and wartime cook­ing. The ex­ist­ing An­der­son shel­ter has al­ways been one of the high­lights of the day, but its tiny size and lack of ad­ja­cent out­door seat­ing left a lot of room for im­prove­ment, as SVR ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer He­len Rus­sell ex­plained:

“Re­build­ing and en­larg­ing our An­der­son shel­ter and cre­at­ing a cov­ered seat­ing area will make a huge dif­fer­ence to what we’re able to do with the chil­dren. In the past, we could only fit a small num­ber of chil­dren in­side the shel­ter at once, and it’s been a real dis­ap­point­ment when we’ve had to can­cel this pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity be­cause of bad weather. The young­sters re­ally en­joy get­ting hand­son when they take part in our 1940s ac­tiv­i­ties, and the new en­larged shel­ter and seat­ing area will re­ally bring to life the ex­pe­ri­ences of evac­uees dur­ing World War II.”

Work on the new An­der­son shel­ter and seat­ing area will be­gin early in 2019 and the new fa­cil­i­ties will be ready for use after Easter.

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