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Train operator East Midlands Trains has today launched a scheme urging the community to get involved in volunteering to care for and take pride in their local railway station.
Through the Station Adoption Scheme the company hopes to find individuals and groups who want to volunteer to become the ‘eyes and ears’ of their local station. Through their voluntary work they can also help to ensure that the station is well presented and looked after.
John Hillman, Stakeholder Development Manager for East Midlands Trains says: “We already have around 15 people or groups that have successfully ‘adopted’ a station. But with 88 stations, we still have a fair number that could benefit from the additional support and enthusiasm that station adopters can bring.
“Anyone can volunteer to adopt a station whether they are an individual, a community group or a rail enthusiast. All we ask is that they commit to giving a little of their time and lots of their enthusiasm. In return we will provide adopters either with a complimentary travel pass for use on our services as part of station adoption duties or a complimentary return ticket for two to London with East Midlands Trains.”
Once accepted station adopters are required to carry out regular basic checks relating to the tidiness and cleanliness of the station. These checks are additional to those already carried out at all stations by East Midlands Trains. Any issues that may need addressing are then passed on to the local manager. This is particularly helpful at smaller unstaffed stations on the network.
John Hillman adds “We’re now taking applications from people to adopt their station. In general people are more likely to think of smaller, unstaffed stations needing someone to ‘adopt’ them – but we see no reason why a group of people couldn’t adopt one of our larger stations such as Sheffield, Derby or Nottingham. We very much see our stations as a vital part of the community and look forward to joining forces with new friends to help keep them to the standard expected by passengers.
Faye Lambert, Project Officer for North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, says: "Station adoption is the lynchpin of community rail. We have many volunteers helping out at stations along the Crewe-Derby line and the support they provide is tremendous, whether it's tending platform gardens, checking station facilities or helping to distribute our visitor guide and rail timetable. For our Partnership, station adoption has been a great way of involving the community in developing their local station."
Peter Smith of the Friends of Alsager station group, who have adopted Alsager station, says: "As a group we're enjoying looking after the station gardens. Passengers and residents have expressed their appreciation and support and we believe it's also playing a real part in the ongoing enhancement of our town."
Brian Barnsley, Operations Manager, Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) says “We at ACoRP are delighted to support East Midlands Trains new Station Adoption Scheme. Evidence elsewhere around the country indicates that stations that have been adopted have become a part of the community they serve. They suffer less from vandalism and anti social behaviour simply because they are look cared for and help the train operator to provide a first class service to their existing and future customers. Oh yes, and it’s also good fun! We are certain this well thought out scheme will deliver all these things and more.”
For more information on East Midlands Trains services visit eastmidlandstrains.co.uk.