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 Chair and Vice-Chair of High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership, Cllr Jean Wharmby and George Wharmby, share their insights into the Partnership and the world of community rail.
What do the Chair and Vice-Chair of a Community Rail Partnership do?
“Being the Chair of the High Peak and Hope Valley CRP is about leading the Management Group, and being an advocate for the Partnership” says Jean. “It’s my responsibility to make sure the requirements and agreements between the Partnership and its members have been fulfilled. For example, I have oversight of the Partnership’s annual Activity Plan, making sure it is up to date, realistic and the activities are taking place in a timely manner. I work closely with our partners and our CRP Officers, Catherine and Helen.”
Jean sets the agenda for and leads Partnership and Management Group meetings. She has a leading role in setting the Partnership’s priorities and overall direction, including funding decisions. Vice-Chair George is also part of the Management Group.
“As Vice-Chair, I am able to deputise for the Chair should the need arise, and to support with all the tasks the Chair is responsible for” adds George. “I am part of the Management Group and am involved in decisions about funding, policy and priorities. The aspect of the role I enjoy most is seeing how much has been achieved over the years.”
How is the Partnership formed?
The CRP is formed by a number of partners, including: 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. The Community Rail Network and Network Rail also provide support and Station Friends volunteer their time and expertise to make community projects and station improvements happen.
“I’ve been the Chair for four years, and I am proud of everything the Partnership has achieved” says Jean. “The railway is about so much more than trains, though of course the train service is extremely important. The potential for communities to benefit from the railway is great. The work, education, leisure and tourism opportunities provided by the railway are so important to our local economy. As a resident of Glossop, I know firsthand how active our local Station Friends are. They enhance the station with great care and enthusiasm, and work with local organisations such as Glossop Creates and Glossop Gardeners Club to build community links and a sense of pride and belonging. They work hard on providing information about public transport and local walks, through posters and leaflets. It makes a real difference to the town.”
What can others get involved with the Partnership?
If you have skills and time to bring, please contact the Partnership by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or sending a message via any of our social media channels. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.
“Whether you’re looking to be a Friend of your local station, or you’re a local business wanting to explore ways you might like to work with the Partnership, please do get in touch” adds Jean.