A group of student leaders from Richmond School and Sixth Form College have taken part in a valuable focus group project with The Station, in Richmond, which has resulted in some of their ideas being taken on board.
Year 11 and Year 13 students spent time with Chris Brown, General Manager, to discuss how they currently use the facilities at The Station, what they felt could be improved, and their ideas for new initiatives that may attract more young people to the iconic community hub in Richmond.
Chris said: “I was most impressed with how mature and confident the students were. We were blown away with the very considered, realistic and exciting ideas they put forward, not only to attract more people of their age group to The Station but suggestions that would also be of interest to a much wider audience and demographic, offering multi-generational appeal. Our open and free discussions generated some great proposals as well as a wealth of information to draw on in the future. It is also fantastic that this led to the notable contribution by Natalie Muxworthy and Jack Riddlestone, in Year 11, who have been a credit to the School in offering their time to volunteer at The Station and give back to the community.
“It is so important that we continue to research, review and refresh our offering at The Station to ensure we continue to meet the demands of our customers. Whilst we know that many of our products are extremely well-received and will stand the test of time, there is always room to enhance and improve as consumer tastes and needs evolve. Going forward, we aim to continue with these relationships and build stronger ties with more students by implementing more of the ideas from the focus group to further broaden the appeal of The Station.”
Projects that are already underway from the results of the students’ feedback include a proposal that the sixth form students were very keen on to host an event around plants. They suggested a plant stall or a dedicated activity, explaining that young people are reconnecting with nature and find that having plants around them in the home is really positive for their mental wellbeing. Chris was overwhelmed with the students’ enthusiasm and extremely interested in this idea, so much so that they planning to host a ‘Plant Fair’ in the future.
Natalie, in Year 11, said: “When I went to the Station for the focus group, I thought they would just ask us about what we liked about the Station as teenagers, but then they started asking us about what we’d like to see specifically going on there, and what we thought made the Station less popular with Richmond teenagers. It definitely made me more inclined to go and visit now that I’ve seen how much effort they are putting into making it an attractive space for people my age. I also liked the way they took our feedback and I am really excited to go to some of the events we talked about. Being part of the research group also inspired me to become a volunteer at The Station which I am really enjoying.”
Jenna Potter, Headteacher of Richmond School and Sixth Form College, said: “I am thrilled that so much positivity came out of the students’ focus groups and it is really rewarding for them to see that some of their ideas have been taken on board and their contribution is so highly valued by the staff, management and trustees at The Station.
“It has also been wonderful to watch and listen to many of our students perform at events at The Station in recent months, as well as enjoying seeing some of their fabulous artwork displayed in the Artisan area and in the recent Spot on the Wall exhibition. The Station is a true community gem and we are so proud to be part of it and involved in helping to retain is appeal for future generations to come.”