Published on: Wednesday, 25 January 2023
Last updated: Monday, 4 September 2023
Above: The new station adopters at Chelmsford Credit: Essex & South Suffolk CRP
Chelmsford rail station is set to become brighter and more welcoming for people and wildlife – thanks to a team of volunteers helping to transform the platforms with plants.
Following an appeal by the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, in partnership with Greater Anglia, for green-fingered local people to ‘adopt’ the station, members of the Rotary Chelmsford Phoenix and Chelmsford resident, Robert Jones, came forward.
They have already started work to install 12 large planters on the platforms, thanks to funding from the Community Rail Network.
Plants have also been donated by nearby RHS Garden Hyde Hall and Rotary Chelmsford Phoenix.
In addition, the RHS Communities Team ran a ‘planet-friendly planter’ workshop at RHS Garden Hyde Hall for the volunteers, to help them decide on the best plants to thrive in Essex’s drier climate and support insects and pollinators.
Greater Anglia will provide funding to help cover the costs of small projects, tools and materials to help improve the station environment through its Station Adoption initiative.
Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager at the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said, “We are delighted that our new volunteers are on-board and they are already doing a great job, helping to bring some colour and life to the station through pollinator-friendly planting schemes which will help our local environment, as well as creating a nice welcome for station users.”
Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said, “I’m delighted to welcome our new volunteers joining the Station Adoption scheme and look forward to seeing the planting scheme develop under their care.
“It makes such a positive difference when the community is actively involved in their local station.
“Station adoption improves the appearance and presentation of stations; creates mutually beneficial relationships and dialogue to help us understand what improvements are important to local people; and also promotes civic pride and wellbeing, by bringing people together and enhancing public spaces.”
Paul Webster, Support and Development Manager at Community Rail Network said "Stations are at the heart of local communities, so we are pleased to see local volunteers taking pride in the station with these displays, providing a bright and colourful welcome to the City to be enjoyed by regular commuters and visitors alike."
Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption scheme enables individuals or groups to adopt their local railway station and contribute to its use and welfare for the benefit of their community.
Station adopters work with Greater Anglia to bring about improvements or care for gardens and floral displays to benefit local wildlife and make stations more welcoming.
Over the years, station adopters have played an active role in keeping stations looking good through inventive gardening projects, wildlife-friendly initiatives, creative community art projects, taking part in station ‘health checks’, being the eyes and ears of their station and encouraging links between the station and local communities.