After almost 6 months with no visitors inside the Museum, it felt so right that the very first people we have been able to welcome back indoors should be some of its biggest fans!
Thanks to support from Hounslow Community Response Fund, Sunday 6th September saw the Museum open its door once again for a much missed group of families.
All Aboard Club (formerly Engine shed) is a community organisation that works with families with children with Autism and ADHD. They come together for their love of trainsets, and have the opportunity to play comfortably alongside other neurodiverse children, and the families feel supported and welcomed in a group of other likeminded families.
And for me it was such an incredibly special moment, there were visitors back in the Museum, families with children having fun! For some, there was the reassurance of stepping back into somewhere familiar with happy memories, and for others it a moment of discovery, vising the Museum for the very first time. Our Museum has always inspired people and made them love engines, in all their shapes and sizes, and it was wonderful to have the next generation of engine enthusiasts be the very first people to get down on the floor of our steam hall and play once again.
Once again noisy chatter was back, laughter and as always the noise of children pretending to drive steam trains.
Thanks to this funding, what All Aboard Club have started, other community groups have been quickly following. Over the following weeks we have been welcoming Beyond Autism for families with early years children, and we’ll be starting to bring Speak Out in Hounslow into the building ready for the change in the weather. We’re also talking to other groups about how we can help, where their usual venues are no longer available, or where they have a new idea which could benefit the community.
To be able to offer our Museum, a COVID secure venue, which can fit in up to 15 people, means so much to our local community. At a time when many venues are too small, or not able to become COVID secure, we are able to help the local community recover, reconnect and smile once again.