Image: a volunteer maintaining Bottesford Friendly Garden, a fantastic community planting project making use of a neglected piece of land next to Bottesford Station (Image credit: Community Rail Network)
Railway stations around the country are being cared for and improved by local community rail partnerships, and many groups use the opportunity to create fantastic tree and hedgerow projects. We spoke to Community Rail Network to hear more about how they support over 70 rail partnerships to achieve even more for local communities
Community rail is all about ensuring communities get the most from their railways. Working alongside local, regional, and national partners, community rail partnerships and groups around the country aim to play an important role in social inclusion, community wellbeing and economic development, and promote rail as a key part of sustainable, healthy travel.
There are over 70 community rail partnerships around Britain, working along railway routes to connect communities with the railway, train operator and other partners. They deliver a range of activities to engage and benefit local people and support the development of the railway, including social inclusion projects, biodiversity, education, and community support.
More than 1,000 smaller community rail groups, such as station friends or adoption groups, or social enterprises, work locally, often involving volunteers in ensuring the station is a welcoming and productive hub for the community. Station groups often play a key role in the horticultural aspect of station life, maintaining gardens and smaller displays.
Community Rail Network, the membership body for community rail partnerships and station groups, provides support and advice to the community rail movement through our membership. We share good practice and connect community rail partnerships and groups together, while working with government, the rail industry, and the wider voluntary and community sector to champion community rail.
We welcome new members to get involved with their local station or help out with an existing station group on your local. Get in touch with Nik Schofield to see where we can assist and signpost.