At a national awards ceremony at the O2 Guildhall in Southampton, Southeast Communities Rail Partnership (SCRP) won an overall award for ‘Outstanding contribution to community rail’.
SCRP works actively with partners and communities to connect them with their railway across the Southeast.
This award was particularly gratifying as SCRP had previously won a similar accolade, in 2006. At that time, the organisation was much smaller, with just one salaried staff member and a couple of directors, liaising with Southern Rail.
Fast forward to 2021, and SCRP is now a Community Interest Company, with ten salaried staff, working across eight railway lines, and bringing together county and city councils, five train companies, sea and airports, universities and sports stadia.
Many unsung heroes, local volunteer groups, schools and individuals adopt their local station, tending tubs and gardens or installing stunning artwork, helping to improve the visual environment, make travel more enjoyable and reduce anti-social behaviour.
SCRP also has two education officers, who visit schools to help young people understand how to travel safely on the railway, and follow this up with visits to their local station and an opportunity to put what they have learned into practice.
The judges commented on how impressed they were with the ability of staff and volunteers to embrace change, when it was thrust upon them, due to circumstances which made it impossible to work in their usual ways.