An exemplary range of innovative and impressive community rail projects, events and schemes were recognised at the 13th national Community Rail Awards, attended by 430 community rail partnerships, groups, industry leaders and government representatives.
The Awards were this year hosted by East Midlands Trains at a gala dinner at The Roundhouse, Derby, on 5 October. The event continues to grow in size, this year receiving 201 entries.
Community Rail Cumbria beat off strong nationwide competition to scoop the top award, Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail, on the showcase night for the community rail movement, with their programme of projects aiming to put Cumbrian railways back into the heart of the communities they serve. Their work has this year included: advising the train operator on forthcoming Sunday services, set to provide vital boost to the Cumbrian Coast; supporting and coordinating volunteering, arts projects and improvements to make stations welcoming gateways; developing an innovative heritage centre at Millom breathing new life into the station and offering an important educational facility; working with Turning Point on community based rehabilitation through station volunteering.
Professor Paul Salveson MBE was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to community rail. Paul is acknowledged as the founder of the community rail movement, setting up South Yorkshire’s Penistone Line Partnership, the first community rail partnership to in 1994 before setting up Community Railways, later to become the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), in 2000.
The Awards were hosted by ACoRP chief executive Jools Townsend and managing director of East Midlands Trains Jake Kelly, and were attended by more than 400 community rail officers, chairs, volunteers and partners, plus senior government and rail industry figures.
Over £900 was raised for this year’s chosen charity, Samaritans, through the always awesome fundraising efforts of Great Western Railway’s Richard Salkeld and his fantastic hosting of the now traditional ‘Heads & Tails’ game.
Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said: “We are thrilled to recognise such an impressive range of work to engage communities in their railways at the 13th Community Rail Awards. These Awards recognise the important, often unsung, work by community rail partnerships, station friends and other groups across Britain. They shine a light on the wonderful activities happening across this growing and increasingly influential grassroots movement – and they help us to share good practice and spread the word about community rail’s contribution to mobility, sustainability, prosperity and wellbeing. The work recognised this year spans from engaging recovering addicts in volunteering, to improving active travel routes to stations, to events highlighting the role of railways in local heritage. Our winning entries are humbling for the passion, creativity, collaboration and determination they demonstrate. They show just how important community rail has become, in enhancing our railways and stations for the sake of passengers and local people, and making sure communities get the most from these vital assets. Congratulations to all our winners and everyone working within community rail.”
Jake Kelly, managing director of East Midlands Trains, added: “We were so pleased to play a part in recognising the fantastic work taking place on community rail lines right across the country. From community art schemes to marketing campaigns, there’s a huge amount to be proud of and where better to celebrate than Derby, which has a proud railway heritage spanning over 178 years. Well done to all the winners and the nominees, these are very well-deserved awards.”
The list of this years winners can be found here.