Greater Anglia recognises community rail ‘heroes’ with awards

Published on: Wednesday, 18 October 2023
Last updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2023

Station Adoption volunteers with their awards

Greater Anglia has recognised volunteers who have been working hard to bring their local rail stations to the heart of their communities.

At the train operator’s annual Station Adoption Awards, the best achievements of the last 12 months from amongst its 330-strong team of volunteer station adopters were formally recognised.

Great effort and dedication was evident at all adopted stations by the volunteers, who work with Greater Anglia to improve their local stations for the benefit of the community, but particularly impressive progress or initiatives were highlighted across 10 categories including best station, best adopter group, environmental and innovation award, and community involvement award.

Greg Chandler, adopter of Brundall Gardens station, and Sheila McGinley, adopter of Sheringham station, both in Norfolk, jointly received the Judge’s Special Award for their tireless dedication and commitment they have shown to keeping their respective stations looking attractive for visitors since the station adoption initiative started in 2003.

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said,

“This year’s awards were very special as we are celebrating 20 years of the Station Adoption initiative in East Anglia.

“It has been great to celebrate the achievements of our station adopters over the past year and also reflect on the incredible transformation we have seen at rail stations over the last 20 years, a large part of which is thanks to Station Adoption.

“Our station adopters are real heroes who achieve amazing things to benefit their communities and make them better places to live with their enthusiasm to bring rural stations to life and restore their links to the communities they serve.

“The adopters know their stations and the needs of their community well and we are happy to support their aims through small grants and facilitating improvements.

“I am delighted that we can also recognise and thank them through the Adopter Awards - we’ve seen some fantastic and innovative projects this year and I would like to thank them all for their continued hard work.”

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 and, on some branch lines, also with the local community rail partnership, to bring about improvements or care for gardens and floral displays to benefit local wildlife and make stations more welcoming.

Greater Anglia provides funding to help station adopters cover the costs of small projects, such as the creation of station gardens and/or to purchase materials to help improve the station environment.

The voluntary scheme, which Anglia Railways introduced in 2003, built on similar initiatives elsewhere in the UK, to improve lines of communication between train operators and station users, but extended it to involve station adopters in playing an active role in keeping stations looking good – initially through beautiful and inventive gardening projects and station presentation improvements.

Over the years, adopters have expanded their activities to encompass wildlife-friendly initiatives, creative community art projects, local promotion of the railway and participation in station ‘health checks’, as well as being the eyes and ears of their station and encouraging links between the station and local communities.