Published on: Thursday, 14 September 2023
Last updated: Thursday, 14 September 2023
Above: South Woodham Ferrers station adopters with Catherine Gaywood (left), Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership Officer. Credit: ESSCRP
Volunteers at South Woodham Ferrers rail station are celebrating a decade of improvements.
Angela Kellett, Bob Barnes, Ged Cooper, Freddie Knighton, Bernice Knighton, Jenny Martin have carried out many projects at the station over the last 10 years as part of Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative, which sees people getting involved with their local rail station to bring about improvements which benefit their communities.
Recently they have been joined by new volunteer, Jim Simmonds.
Over the years projects have included colourful murals along the platforms, the installation of a talking bench and history board which both provide tourists with information about the area, attractive floral displays and the development of a station garden which includes a rose garden and Platinum Jubilee tree, as well as the installation of a free water dispenser to help keep passengers hydrated on their travels. The team also worked with a local school to display art work at the station.
They meet every Sunday to tend to the gardens, flowers tubs and platforms and water and dead head flowers daily to keep them in perfect condition.
The team has been supported by the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership who have provided help and funding for projects over the years.
Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager for the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said, “The volunteer team at South Woodham Ferrers are just outstanding and we are so lucky to have them. It has been a real pleasure to work with them on so many varied projects and help bring their ideas for the station to fruition. I would like to thank them for their dedication and efforts which have greatly improved the station.”
Alan Neville, Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Greater Anglia, said, “Congratulations to the team at South Woodham Ferrers on achieving this milestone. On behalf of Greater Anglia, I would like to commend them for their incredible commitment and achievements in helping to improve South Woodham Ferrers for customers and the community alike - and the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership for their invaluable support.”
“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.”
Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative is now in its 20th year and now has over 330 station adopters across the region.
The 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.