The Friends of Bishopstone Station have launched a crowdfunding appeal to help raise money to turn the former store into a community hub.

Phase 1 is to raise funds to renovate the rundown former general store which was part of the old railway parcels office. The group wants to turn this area into a much-needed space to be used by various community groups who are desperate for a venue.

The money raised will pay for a new kitchen area, plumbing, electrics and appliances, hot water facility, broadband and USB ports, new foyer doorway and access for disabled people and those with mobility issues plus a new multi purpose unisex toilet.

Barbara Mine, chair of the Friends of Bishopstone Station (FoBS), said: “The work is costly and our fundraising events from quizzes, book sales and auctions have brought in some money – but not enough to pay for all the work needed to make the space fit for community use.

“That’s why we have created this Crowdfunder to appeal to the wider world to help us.”

Railway historian Tim Dunn visited Bishopstone in December 2020 to film for an episode of his programme ‘The Architecture The Railways Built’ on Yesterday TV. The programme was broadcast in October 2021 providing much-needed publicity for the project.

Bishopstone Station is on the Seaford to Brighton line and was designed by architect James Robb Scott. He was the chief architect of the Southern Railway and was also responsible for the redesign and Victory Arch at Waterloo station.

Bishopstone was built in 1938 to accommodate a new housing estate.

The housing was shelved when World War 2 started and the unique Art Deco Station was used for military purposes. Brick gun emplacements were added. This is the only station building in the UK with gun turrets.

The long-term aim is to create a community room for a variety of uses. Planning permission and listed building consent has been granted.

Friends of Bishopstone Station was formed in 2017 and officially adopted the station in conjunction with Southeast Communities Rail Partnership.

::  The FoBS Crowdfunding appeal follows the extensive support already given by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Network Rail and The Railway Heritage Fund to the scheme.

The project is an example of partnership working involving the Train Operating Company and others including providing financial and staff support to help in the delivery of the work to transform the former store. Funding from GTR has contributed to the surveys, design and the enabling works for the main community hub scheme.