Dear community – your new youth club was a pacer train….

I get ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ I really do

but in the 1980’s at the height of transport infrastructure cuts, Leyland Buses were turned into class 140-144 pacer trains in the North and Wales.

The 1980s also saw cuts in community work and infastructure.

Now, after another decade of cuts to community and youthwork structures and buildings, and 30 years since the pacers were introduced and clocked up millions of miles (all no more than 40mph, unless going down hill) – they are being eventually coming to an end of their shelf life, not because of efficiency, but because of the disabilty and equality act. Ie step free access is almost impossible neither is there space for a disabled toilet on them.

But what now you cry – how might the ubiquitous symbol of northern transport underfunding be resurrected again?

Yes you guessed it…

The Pacer becomes the village hall.

I repeat, the pacer to become a village hall.

No its not an april fool – or a really awkward attempt by me to do a youthwork/trains crossover piece. It is here: DFT suggests turning pacers into community halls

The Pacer becomes the community space.

It was ‘all the feels on wheels’ now its for meals on wheels, it used to show people the world (very slowly) it will now be a venue for slimming world. I guess that without wheels, therell be space for a disabled toilet on them…

Its not as if there has been plenty of quality of conversations on them in the past, usually

‘could this train be any more shit’

or

‘nice to see theyve updated this one with windows that actually close’

or

‘isnt it nice to join you in this sweat box’

So – lets be honest, using them as a community centre, when theyre already a community on wheels already, a community joined by mutual hatred, despair and worry, might not be too large a leap.

Honestly, as youth and community workers, how can we complain as such obvious generosity by the DFT – and funding investment to bring community back to our communities, one pacer at a time.

And if you have another use for a pacer train, you can enter a competition to redesign one here; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/competition-will-breathe-new-life-into-an-old-pacer-train

Advertisements

Author: James

Currently I work part time for both Frontier Youth Trust (www.fyt.org.uk) and Communities Together Durham (www.communitiestogetherdurham.org) and am also self employed and do various aspects of youthwork consultancy, including training, writing, lecturing, seminars and written pieces, including organisational consultancy, community profiling and detached/youthwork training. Please do get in touch if I can be of help to you in your church, project or organisation to develop your youth and community work. I have contributed to 'Here be Dragons (2013), and two recent articles in the youth and theology journal and 'ANVIL' the CMS online journal. My recent employment includes, working for FYT as a youthwork development adviser, being the centre director at Durham YFC, and before this I was known as 'Mr Sidewalk' as I was the project coordinator for the Sidewalk Project in Perth, where I facilitated the delivery of 5 years of detached youthwork on the streets, schools and communities to engage with young people , and support through alcohol misuse issues. In 2017 I completed an MA in Theology & Ministry at St John's College, Durham, and in 2008 graduated from ICC (now NTC Glasgow) with an honours degree in youth work with Applied theology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.