South Western Railway (SWR) has announced the formation of two new Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs).
CRPs are not-for-profit organisations that help connect railways with the communities they serve. They support a wide range of projects that aim to promote sustainable and healthy travel. They also bring communities together and support social and economic development.
The new CRPs will serve stations on SWR’s network from Alton to Wanborough, including Ash Vale, and within the southern part of the London Borough of Kingston. Working with their local communities and community groups, they will help to build an understanding of the importance of local railways. This includes improving mobility and sustainable travel, community cohesion and wellbeing, and social and economic development.
Funding from SWR has allowed both CRPs to employ an officer to deliver the community activity. SWR is working in partnership and actively involved with each CRP to deliver outcomes that benefit as many people as possible.
SWR also works closely with over 80 Station Adoption Groups. These provide an opportunity for individuals to volunteer to make a difference in their local areas and help communities to get the most from their stations, either through an established group taking on a new role or from like-minded locals coming together to improve their station.
Robin Hutchinson of The Community Brain, who will oversee the new CRP within the London Borough of Kingston, said:
“The Community Brain has worked with our friends at South Western Railway since 2018 when we adopted Tolworth station as part of our SHEDx programme. We’re very pleased to be extending that relationship into a Community Rail Partnership, which will allow us to work together to provide community projects and social action across more of the south of Kingston Borough.”
Mark Millar, Chair of the Wey Valley CRP, said:
“We are delighted to be working with South Western Railway to expand community rail in Hampshire with the forthcoming creation of the Wey Valley Community Rail Partnership between Alton and Guildford (including Ash Vale). This will be the fourth Community Rail Partnership in Hampshire and it will seek to promote the beautiful Wey Valley, build volunteer groups around the stations, improve station environments and enhance opportunities to travel by train to and from local tourist attractions.
“It is an exciting opportunity to develop our railways and design specific community projects which benefit the whole area. Should any resident, business, community group, or organisation wish to become a partner with us, we would be pleased to hear from you!”
Paula Aldridge, Community Rail Manager, South Western Railway, added:
“South Western Railway is delighted to be supporting two new Community Rail Partnerships, and 12 new Station Adoption Groups. We look forward to seeing them start to make a real difference in their communities, showing people what their local station has to offer and encouraging them to make full use of their facilities.”