Triumph for Harwich rail station volunteers
Volunteers at Harwich rail station have been recognised with a national award.
The team, led by Georgeta Busuioc and Sue Robinson, supported by the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and train operator Abellio Greater Anglia, scooped the Small Projects Award at the Community Rail Awards held in Torquay last week for their transformation of the station garden.
Georgeta and Sue became adopters of the station in 2014 and, with their team of helpers, set about clearing weeds, rubble and rubbish from a disused area of the station to create a beautiful garden teeming with flowers and plants, most of which were donated by the volunteers and local people.
They also planted the tubs on the station platforms to create a bright welcome for station users and visitors to the town.
The project, which took five weeks to complete in 2014, was achieved for under £500 and the garden, carefully tended by Sue and Georgeta, has brought pleasure to station visitors ever since, leading to the Community Rail Award.
Supporters of the project included the Harwich Town Residents’ Association, Friends of the Earth, Abellio Greater Anglia, the Essex & South Suffolk CRP, Cheryl Thompson, the station adopter for nearby Dovercourt Station, the Harwich Mayflower Project, which is based at Harwich Town Station and the Harwich Brewery.
Essex County Council is a lead partner in the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership. Cllr Rodney Bass, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation said: “By supporting this important partnership, we are encouraging people to make the best use of our branch train lines in the county.
“This prize-winning project improves people’s enjoyment of train travel and my congratulations and thanks go to the volunteers who put in so much hard work to transform the grounds of Harwich station.”
Rebecca Richardson, Partnerships Officer for Abellio Greater Anglia, commented:
"It's great to see this partnership approach and the efforts of our station adopters and community volunteers receiving national recognition. Some people said it was an impossible task as the area hadn’t been touched for many years. However, Sue and Georgeta were so determined that this would work that their ‘can do’ approach motivated everyone and got the whole community involved. The garden has been transformed and is now a lovely place to pass by and look at and this award is very well-deserved.
“We'll continue to work together to develop community rail lines and we are backing that commitment with the further 20% increase in funding we have made as part of current short franchise to October 2016."