Volunteers and organisations working to improve stations and increase rail use were recognised at the Community Rail Awards 2022, held in Manchester on 6 October.
The awards – a fixture in the railway calendar – received more than 200 entries and were attended by more than 400 people, with representatives from the rail industry and government. Joining Community Rail Network Chief Executive Jools Townsend to present the awards were Northern Managing Director Nick Donovan and Transport for Greater Manchester Head of Rail Simon Elliott.
Fifteen awards were made, with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail category jointly won by the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and Friends of Goostrey station.
The former coordinates activity across six branch lines, and in the past year has helped refugees and asylum seekers adapt to life in Essex, run climate change and dementia-friendly trains, developed rail safety programmes with local schools, and supported volunteer-led community gardens, wildlife projects and locally-created, vibrant art displays at stations.
The Friends of Goostrey Station are a volunteer group in Cheshire that works tirelessly to improve their historic station and enable the local community to get maximum benefit, developing Goostrey Art Studio in a lovingly restored station building, providing for nature by monitoring biodiversity, and encouraging sustainable and active travel by rail.
After the awards, Ms Townsend said: ‘The Community Rail Awards give deserved recognition to community rail partnerships, groups and volunteers across Britain. We were thrilled to welcome more than 430 guests, alongside ministers and rail industry leaders, emphasising the great value of community rail, helping to build stronger, fairer, greener communities, served and connected by their railways and wider sustainable transport network.
‘Despite another challenging year, the array of entries defied expectations, showing how community rail continues to strive to help people get the most from their railways and stations, and impact positively on local places and people’s lives. Our congratulations to all our winners, and thanks to everyone who supports and champions community rail, helping the movement to go from strength to strength.’
Mr Donovan added: ‘The volume and breadth of initiatives taking place right across our network is inspiring and it’s right that we shine a light on the importance of community work across the UK. After all, railway stations are an integral part of the community they serve and train operators, Network Rail and station adoption schemes among others all have a role to play in making these community assets thrive.’
Community Rail Awards 2022 winners
Community Rail Network Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail - Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and Friends of Goostrey Station
Board’s Special Recognition Award - Richard Watts Outstanding Volunteer Contribution sponsored by Eversholt Rail - Julie Levy of South East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership and Bolton Station Community Partnership
Station Friends and Adopters at the Heart of Communities sponsored by Siemens Mobility - Friends of Buxton Station for Part of Something Positively Local
Involving Children and Young People sponsored by London North Eastern Railway - Engineered Learning, Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership and East Midlands Railway for Turning Around Vulnerable Young Lives Through Engineering
Involving Diverse Groups sponsored by East Midlands Railway - Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership for Getaway
Community Creative Projects and Station Arts sponsored by Transport for Greater Manchester - South East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership for Wigan Mural Project
Small Projects Award (under £500) sponsored by Community Rail Lancashire - Kent Community Rail Partnership for Sunflower Mural – Let’s Celebrate Differences
Most Effective Communications Campaign sponsored by CrossCountry - Southeast Communities Rail Partnership for Go Green by Train CO2 Savings
Best Community Engagement Project sponsored by Go-Ahead - Heart of England Community Rail Partnership, Highly Sprung Performance, Coventry City Council & Avanti West Coast for Coventry Station Community Day – In Transit
Tourism & Leisure Award sponsored by Transport for Wales - Great Little Trains of Wales and the Community Rail Partnerships in Wales and the Borders for ‘Wales on Rails Tourism Project
Influencing Positive Change and Sustainability sponsored by RSSB - Platform Rail Community Education Scheme for Community Education Scheme
Most Enhanced Railway Spaces sponsored by Greater Anglia - Friends of Goostrey Station for A Creative Hub at Goostrey Station
Photo Competition capturing the essence of community rail in 2021/22 sponsored by Porterbrook - Friends of Irlam Station Line for A Good Workout!