From the Community Rail Network | firstname.lastname@example.org
Haslemere partnership wins national award for station redevelopment scheme
A group of Haslemere community organisations and local authorities have won a coveted national ‘community rail’ award for their work transforming the town’s popular railway station and information hub.
The Arts Society, Haslemere, Haslemere Museum, and Haslemere Town Council, supported by Surrey County Council, South Western Railway, and other regional partners, fought off strong competition to take home the Most Enhanced Station award, sponsored by Greater Anglia, at the 16th national Community Rail Awards, on 9 December.
They were recognised for the Haslemere Community Station project, which saw partners come together to develop the station as a gateway to the town and its surroundings, promote rail as sustainable and healthy travel, and boost the area’s social and economic vitality.
The scheme centred around a major revamp of the Haslemere Information Hub, which was transformed from a modest facility only open in the summer to a bigger community space, run by a team of 35 volunteers, now open year-round to make the station a focal point for visitors and the community.
Project chair Nikki Barton thanked the “wonderful” team of volunteers and station staff at Haslemere for the “huge added value” they had brought to the project.
She said: “We are all totally delighted, it is an exceptional partnership that has come together here. The project started from a very small germ of an idea, but community rail has so much potential to deliver good and positive work, and recognition of that has drawn in partners who had never worked together before.
“For the first time, we got the Surrey Hills AONB, South Downs National Park, and the National Trust all sitting around the table with local community groups to look at how we could use sustainable rail travel to promote Haslemere as a gateway to this beautiful surrounding countryside. Also, the new Surrey Hills to South Downs Community Rail Partnership evolved from this project, which is really exciting.”
The Community Rail Awards, organised by Community Rail Network, recognise the important, often unsung, work by community rail partnerships, station friends, and other community rail groups across Britain. They shine a light on vital projects across this growing grassroots movement, highlighting community rail’s contribution to sustainable mobility, social inclusion, community development, and wellbeing.
The awards were delivered as an online gala evening for the first time with 550 guests, including community rail volunteers, officers, rail industry leaders and government representatives.
Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Our congratulations go to all involved in the Haslemere Community Station project, which has cemented the station’s place at the heart of the community, and made a major contribution to local sustainable development.
“The Community Rail Awards recognise the achievements and passion of community rail volunteers, groups and partnerships across Britain. Their tireless efforts connect local people with their railways and stations, bring communities together, and enable more people to access sustainable travel. This contributes to greener, healthier, happier communities, and promotes wider access to opportunity. This couldn’t be more important right now.
“We will be holding up this brilliant example from Haslemere nationally, to inspire more communities to engage positively and draw on their railways and stations.”
Details of all 2020 award winners are on the Community Rail Network website here.
For information on the Haslemere Information Hub, go to www.haslemereinfohub.co.uk.
Notes for editors
For more information, pictures, or further interview opportunities, please contact Nikki Barton at email@example.com.
Community Rail Network – Community rail is a unique and growing national movement comprising more than 70 community rail partnerships and 1,000 volunteer groups across Britain that help communities get the most from their railways. Community rail is about engaging local people at grassroots level to promote social inclusion, sustainable and healthy travel, wellbeing, economic development, and tourism. It involves working with train operators, local authorities, and other partners to bring improvements and help our railways and stations to serve local needs.
Established in 2000, Community Rail Network provides support and advice to the community rail movement. We share best practice and connect community rail partnerships and groups together, while working with government at different levels, the transport industry, and the voluntary sector to champion community rail and share its insights on sustainable transport development.
Community rail is evidenced to contribute high levels of social, environmental, and economic value to local areas. A 2019 study estimated volunteer activity alone was worth £33.2m every year.
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