Published on: Tuesday, 4 August 2020
Last updated: Tuesday, 4 August 2020
Community volunteers have stepped forward to ‘adopt’ Chappel & Wakes Colne station in Essex in partnership with train operator, Greater Anglia and the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.
The train operator’s Station Adoption scheme sees people getting involved with their local rail station for the benefit of their communities, working with Greater Anglia to bring about improvements or caring for gardens and floral displays to benefit local wildlife as well as making the stations more welcoming.
When the Community Rail Partnership approached local man, Stephen Scrase, about forming an adopter group, he says “it didn’t take more than a couple of seconds to accept this exciting challenge.”
He soon recruited a small team volunteered to help him take on the rural Grade II listed station, which is situated on the Gainsborough branch line between Marks Tey and Sudbury and provides direct access to the East Anglian Railway Museum.
While the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown stalled the new group initially, they are now pushing ahead with their plans and with funding from the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, have installed planters along the platform.
Stephen says, “I’m pleased that progress has now been made. We received funding from The Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership for a number of self-watering planters along the platform and then it was wonderful to go off to the local plant centre to select and purchase a wide range of colourful annual plants to fill the planters thanks to funding from Greater Anglia.
“We are very happy with the results and when more people start travelling again, they will be able to enjoy the attractive platform.”
Stephen added, “Our group has some interesting plans to stage small events as and when restrictions allow – we are thinking along the lines of Christmas carols at the station, coffee mornings and other community events which will help to raise funds for our group and Perennial, the Horticultural Charity.”
“We are very aware that we share Chappel and Wakes Colne Station with East Anglian Railway Museum and trust our display will also be admired by visitors to the recently re-opened Museum.”
The adopter group will also accept donations of Garden Gift Vouchers from the public to help fund continued flower displays.
Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said, “The new adopters at Chappel & Wakes Colne have achieved a lot in a short space of time. I am keen to help them develop their ideas and feel that the station will become a real community hub thanks to their involvement.”
Jayne Sumner, Community Rail Engagement Manager, said, “When we approached Stephen we knew he would be the right person for the job and he and his team have done so much already. We’re grateful for their involvement and are looking forward to continuing to support the new group and seeing how their plans develop.”