Meet our Community Rail Partnership Officers
Community rail is about helping communities get maximum benefit from railways. From boosting biodiversity with wildlife-friendly gardening at stations, to increasing wellbeing via community group visits to the Peak District by train, there are many creative ways to do this.
Here the High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership Officers, Catherine and Helen, share insights into their roles and the world of community rail.
What do CRP Officers do?
“Essentially, CRP Officers facilitate the running of Community Rail Partnerships, such as High Peak and Hope Valley CRP” says Catherine. “It’s a mix of desk-based and on-site tasks. In any one week, our roles could involve everything from a site visit to a station to check on new infrastructure, to helping produce a new marketing leaflet, to processing grant applications from Station Friends for community-based projects.”
“I enjoy the variety of this job” adds Helen. “As well as getting out on the railways lines to meet community groups and see the positive impact of Station Friends’ work, there are administrative tasks such as finances, safety training, organising meetings, arranging community group visits, getting permissions for infrastructure projects and so on. Catherine and I also work closely with our Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Megan, to help spread the word about sustainable travel to the Peak District.”
How is the Partnership formed?
The CRP is formed by a number of partners, listed below. Working in partnership is key to Helen and Catherine’s roles.
“We are lucky to have a supportive team of funders and partners, from train operating companies to local authorities” says Helen. “Their support in terms of funding and expertise makes community rail projects in the Peak District possible. As a CRP we also benefit from the support and training offered by the Community Rail Network. We attend conferences, training days and webinars throughout the year.”
How do Station Friends fit in?
Providing support to Station Friends groups is also a key aspect of the role.
“The Station Friends are independent groups of volunteers, who care for stations and involve their communities” says Catherine. “They do a fantastic job of reaching out beyond the station. For example, Friends of Hadfield Station and Friends of Glossop Station led a Bumblebee Safari in the summer, which was a guided walk from Hadfield station to nearby Bankswood Park to look for bees. Attendees looked at the bee-friendly planters at Hadfield Station and learned about how to help pollinators in their own gardens. It’s wonderful to see the railway as a vehicle (no pun intended!) for communities to come together in this way and we were pleased to help with some funding and marketing support.”
High Peak and Hope Valley CRP would like to thank all their Partners: Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Northern, Transpennine Trains, Cheshire East Council, Derbyshire County Council, High Peak Borough Council, and Peak District National Park. Thanks also to Community Rail Network and Network Rail for their support and Station Friends for their time, expertise and dedication.