The shortlist for the 2020 Community Rail Awards has been announced. Organised every year by the Community Rail Network (formerly known as the Association of Community Rail Partnerships – ACoRP), awards are presented in 13 categories, including a photography competition.
The Community Rail Network supports community-based groups and partnerships that connect their community with their railway and deliver social benefit. Across Britain, about 70 community rail partnerships, plus hundreds of station friends and other groups and social enterprises, make up the community rail movement.
It delivers a range of activities, from community gardening and arts projects on stations, to helping people with disabilities to use the railway and advising train operators on meeting local needs – work carrying significant social and economic value. All of these bring people together and help communities get the most from their railways, as well as helping the railways to thrive.
Providing support, advice and information to the community rail movement through membership services and events, the Community Rail Network shares good practice and connects those working in community rail, while bringing together insights from the wider voluntary sector, rail industry and beyond.
Community Rail Network chief executive Jools Townsend said: “The Community Rail Awards celebrate the passion and hard work of those involved in community rail.
“But they also play a critical function. They help us to share good practice and champion community rail. They also help to build understanding of community rail’s role, making a vital contribution to social inclusion, sustainable development, and health and wellbeing.
The complete shortlist is available on the Community Rail Network’s website.
Many local community rail partnerships (CRPs) and station adopters are funded and supported by their local train operators,
South Western Railway (SWR) provides funding and support to 11 CRPs (an increase from eight in 2019), and now has 55 registered station adopters (an 800 percent increase in less than two years).
A number of SWR’s supported organisations have been shortlisted for the Community Rail Awards. Amongst them, SWR’s Community Ambassadors are nominated in the Involving Diverse Groups category for journeys they ran with three CRPs for young people with learning disabilities.
Four projects from three station adopters are picked out in the Small Project (£500 or less) section, including the SWR-funded lifeboat planter at Lake station, while Three Rivers CRP has a picture in the photo competition that captured the day the group took the (rather large) key to the redundant space at the station – the first peppercorn lease for a community group of the SWR franchise.
Andy Harrowell, SWR’s community rail manager, said: “Over the last year, we’ve gone further than ever before to help support communities across our network, providing funding to three additional CRPs, helping to create two new job roles, as well as supporting more and more groups to help their station further reflect the community they serve.
“We are extremely pleased to see so many of these collaborations recognised within these shortlistings. All across our network our staff and community partners undertake some excellent projects to support local areas and to have these acknowledged in this way is an extra bonus.
“We wish everyone luck when the awards are announced.”
The overall winners will be announced at a special online gala presentation evening, headline sponsored by Angel Trains, on Thursday 9 December 2020, details of which will be announced soon.