news

No Virgin berth!
Christmas tidings, Issue 1486
richard-branson.jpg
WONDERFUL LIFE? For some, perhaps – but not for Creative Wellbeing, which has been given notice to quit Carlisle station by Virgin Trains
VIRGIN Trains is trumpeting the benefits of kindness this festive season, telling its Facebook users: “This Christmas, we’re painting the script of It’s a Wonderful Life across our platforms all the way from Euston to Glasgow. Think of it as a very long and yellow reminder that a little kindness can make a big difference to someone’s life.”

The campaign has been developed with the charity Rethink Mental Illness. Marvellous stuff. But kindness and understanding seem to be lacking in Virgin Trains’ treatment of Creative Wellbeing, a non-profit enterprise which has been housed for the past four years in rooms on a platform at Carlisle station.

Virgin gave it a home in early 2014 at a time when the train company was bidding to retain its franchise to run the west coast mainline. Since then Creative Wellbeing has held more than 1,600 art sessions and welcomed hundreds of the area’s most vulnerable people who needed support or company to its simple rooms on platform 1. Although Creative Wellbeing was told its future was safe at the station, Virgin Trains’ solicitors have now told the social enterprise it must move out.

Issues arose after Virgin asked the social enterprise to sign a lease. Creative Wellbeing asked if it could include a sink with running water – essential for art classes – a car park pass for delivering supplies, and continued access to a storage space for its materials. These were turned down and notice of eviction followed.

Eviction proceedings
A Virgin Trains spokesperson tells the Eye: “Despite our long-standing support… Creative Wellbeing’s behaviour has not been in line with our expectations. We have engaged with them on numerous occasions prior to reaching this decision, including seeking their agreement to sign a lease. They have been unwilling to sign without making a series of unreasonable demands and stipulations. It’s unfortunate that we therefore had to write to Creative Wellbeing to give them six weeks’ notice to vacate the premises.”

Creative Wellbeing tells the Eye it didn’t think a sink and a car park pass were that unreasonable, and it was very keen to carry on discussions to reach an agreement. But Virgin Trains is continuing eviction proceedings and, as a result, vulnerable people have been deprived of their weekly classes at the worst possible time of year. Bah humbug!

More top stories in the latest issue:

ROUGH-SLEEPING JUSTICE
Christmas 2018 sees twice as many people sleeping rough as in 2010, and 70 percent more families and children in temporary accommodation.

NO ROOM AT THE INN
Sick and suicidal adults and children remain detained on the island of Nauru despite efforts by an MP to get the Australian parliament to do the right thing.

BAR HUMBUG!
The legal ruling that the UK can easily change its mind on Brexit is a big defeat for Michael Gove, Vote Leave and right-wing think tank Policy Exchange.

PEER PRESSURES
The bumper crop of gongs aimed at getting disobedient Tory MPs into line over Brexit promises plenty of red faces come publication of the new year honours.

CHRISTMAS TURKEYS
Little festive cheer as the public service outsourcing fiasco turns firms like Amey, Interserve, Kier and Capita into financial basket cases.

EDGY PERRIN
Clifford Chance’s Chris Perrin can’t avoid mention of the Eye when introducing the Transparency International anti-corruption lecture at his firm’s HQ.

ACADEMIC HUMBUGGERY
How UK universities missed the ‘demographic dip’ in 18 to 20 year olds and now facing redundancy consultations and strike ballots on campus.

NOOKS & CORNERS
Though Coventry will be City of Culture 2021, city chiefs are fast-tracking the shifting of a city centre landmark so a pub chain can expand.

To read all the latest Private Eye news, get the latest edition - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 22nd January 2019
gnitty
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
MORE FROM PRIVATE EYE
ONLY IN THE MAGAZINE
Private Eye Issue 1486
In This Issue
Christmas Can Be Cancelled Really Easily If It’s All Too Much Bother, Says Legal Advice… Baby It’s Cold Outside So I’ve Called You An Uber – Christmas Classics Updated for Millennials… Leader of European Research Group Should Resign, Insists Jacob Rees-Mogg… Nurseryland Prepares to Crash Out of Single This-Little-Piggy-Goes-To Market in 2019… Iain Duncan Scrooge, the Duchess of Scrooge and Mrs Theresa Scrooge – It’s ‘A Revised Christmas Carol … Top Cyclist Jeremy Corbyn Wins Sparts Personality of the Year… Climate Change Doesn’t Exist. Fact. But Santa Does – Trump Latest…

Xmas Giftmart
Cracking gift ideas from Lord Gnome

Duchess diary
Meghan opens her heart to Craig Brown

Festive fun
Cartoons galore, plus a £250 prize crossword

Read these stories and much more - only in the magazine. Subscribe here to get delivery direct to your home and never miss an issue!
ONLY £2.00
SUBSCRIBE HERE
NEXT ISSUE ON SALE
22nd January 2019
WHY SUBSCRIBE?
Private Eye Issue 1485