Community Rail Partnerships strive to connect communities and their railway and to enhance wellbeing, sustainability and community development.
We activity encourage those living, working or attending school, college or university or around local stations to become actively involved with improving their stations and shaping the future of local rail travel.
Many of the stations in our region benefit from the support of station adoption or “Friends of…” groups. Their wonderful volunteer members brighten up the stations, making them feel safer and more welcoming. This is achieved by tending flower beds and planters, maintaining and watering displays, and generally keeping the stations clean and tidy. The activity is healthy but not strenuous, and provides an opportunity to meet up with like-minded people who to take pride in their neighbourhood. All station voluntary groups are fully inclusive, so everyone is welcome. Small grant funding is available to support station adoption schemes.
If you are interested in volunteering at your local station please contact us. We will make arrangements to introduce you to your local station adopters and the Great Western Railway station team, who manage the station.
The Association of Community Rail Partnerships provides information and advice, including a nationally agreed code of practice for station adopters.
We encourage all station groups to participate in the annual Royal Horticultural Society & South West in Bloom It’s Your Neighbourhood Award (IYN) Scheme The three core pillars of IYN fit with everything we feel a station adoption scheme should strive to accomplish – Community Participation, Environmental Responsibility and Gardening Achievement. Many of our station volunteer groups enjoy their success in the scheme, some not just achieving, but maintaining the highest accolade of an “Outstanding” scheme.
We are extremely proud of all our volunteers who support a wide range of community rail projects including passenger counts, school rail familiarisation visits, a rail ambassador scheme enabling groups from socially deprived communities to travel by train to student projects such as design and social media. The possibilities are endless! We are delighted to hear from anyone wishing to be involved and innovative ideas are always welcomed.
Schools Out – Young Station Improvers
Engaging young people with the local railway doesn’t stop at our schools partnerships – we actively encourage younger volunteers to participate in projects to brighten up their local stations. This is sometimes in conjunction with personal development schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
A number of art schemes, mosaics, growing plants and flowers for stations and community litter picks have brought youth groups from across the region to their station with outstanding results.
Cross Country trains have a partnered with the Scouts on the Cubs Personal Safety badge. Read through the resource pack and keep a look out for their special Scout branded train, which travels between Aberdeen and Penzance!
Our special partnership with Incredible Edible Bristol was established in 2015, as a sustainable local community engagement project to mark Bristol’s status of European Green Capital. Innovative dual “cycle stand” planters – designed and manufactured in Bristol – were installed at each station along the Severn Beach line and are reserved strictly for growing edible produce.
On the first Friday of each month an Incredible Edible Working Party travel the line by train, visiting stations to re-stock planters with fruit, veg and a selection of herbs, so passengers can “pick their own” on the way home!
The working party is friendly and sociable, offering volunteers an opportunity to escape the city and enjoy the varied scenery of the Severn Beach line. Book your place on the next one here http://ediblebristol.org.uk/events/. Participants have been known to pick up some useful horticultural tips along the journey.
We are pleased to extend our partnerships with local businesses by facilitating employee volunteering days at local stations. This is often done in collaboration with station adoption groups.
On the Train Events
Off peak local trains have proved successful venues for community events including local musicians, carol singers and arts projects.
Local stations provide a gateway for walking groups. The Wessex Wanders group design their walks to start and finish at railway stations and meet with the rail service.
Walks from the Severn Beach Line provides inspiration for walks originating from stations along the local branch line.