I enjoy my life. I’ve worked on the Underground for around 27 years. I live in Leyton, but I also feel like I belong in Oval. We often spend more time in our workplace than our own home. It’s important we enjoy it. I have my own family, but I also feel part of a bigger family; my colleagues are part of my family. We have common respect for each other. I’ve watched our customers grow up. There were children I knew as babies passing through Oval station who are now in their twenties.

The Oval station is a hub. We want to encourage a sense of community spirit with customers. A space like the underground might be the first interaction a person has outside their family. Or for someone living alone, it might be the first conversation you have with another person that day. That interaction can shape your day.

I’ve worked on the Underground for 27 years - we want to encourage a sense of community spirit in Oval station.

Of course the primary goal of the Underground is to get you from A to B. But what about the stations? If you feel like you own the space then you can relate to it. In joint places everyone is putting a bit of themselves into that space. If each individual thinks ‘that’s my space’ then they will do their best to relate to the environment and positive energy will radiate. And then you start to realise that everyone’s story is quite similar.

Pencil illustration of Anthony working at the ticket gates of Oval Underground station.

When you go home after a challenging day, you reach the comfortable, safe place that you created. A public environment, like a tube station, belongs to the public but we have a duty to make people feel welcome when they come into our own space. A simple good morning or a good evening can help to make you feel welcome.

We have some customers who could use another station closer to them, but they tell us they choose to come to Oval. People gravitate towards places where they feel at ease, at peace and where there’s a sense of calm. As a team, we had the vision and we’ve created that welcoming space at Oval.

I believe that community is key to human existence. Outside that arena we become lonely. We are all searching to belong, all searching for an identity. That’s why public spaces are so important.

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