“STATIONS IN BLOOM IS AN ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS NEW VOLUNTEER CELEBRATION.”
Stations in Bloom, a regional initative led by Blackmore Vale Line Community Rail Partnership, is flying the celebration flag in recognition of the wonderful efforts of station volunteers and railway staff across SWR and GWR network. Community Rail Partnerships across the region are joining together in a new ground-breaking project, the first project of its kind on the railway network across southern England. An inter-station celebration of community involvement and endeavour, spread across the South Western Railway and Great Western Railway network. The ethos of Stations in Bloom reflects a nurturing attitude supporting everyone who participates in volunteering and enhancing stations.
Recognition and celebration of the hard work and efforts of station volunteers, railway staff and guards is at the heart of this new venture, raising awareness as well as promoting the railways, routes and stations. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate volunteer efforts and initiatives which have turned stations into welcoming spaces for rail-users and visitors.
The project is funded by South Western Railway Community Rail and led by the Blackmore Vale Line CRP working with Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, East Hampshire CRP, Purbeck CRP, Swanage Railway and the newly formed South Wessex CRP on the GWR route from Frome to Weymouth. Stations in Bloom has attracted funding from the participating rail partnerships, and major investment from a leading West Country business The Garden Group for the regional awards ceremony planned for later in the year.
Station visits are taking place between 18th July – 29th July 2022 with teams of specially selected judges travelling to each region and guided by experienced and respected head judges. When visiting stations judges are being encouraged to take into consideration enhancements provided by volunteers and staff which are over and above the facilities offered by train operating companies. For example waiting room enhancements, shelters, artwork, planters, gardens, allotments, watering rotas, leaflets, maps, community use of spaces, regular events, use of stations buildings for volunteers and community. Member of the visiting team are also being encouraged to ask volunteers about their year-round efforts, as many may not be visible on the day. Initiatives such as seasonal decorations, fund-raising events, monthly coffee mornings, special buses services, exhibitions and plant swaps; other may not be open on the day such as the free shops and baby clothes banks.
All judges recommendations receive public recognition and awards.
Project led Caroline Rowland of the Blackmore Vale Line Community Rail Partnerships says:
“As Partnership Officers for the respective lines we are all aware of how the stations are thriving as a result of time invested by volunteers, railway staff and guards. This dedicated community involvement is reflected in the number of volunteer hours and hard work invested in producing a stunning array of ingenious initiatives and entrepreneurial ventures. The list is long and distinguished and we want to tell the stories and shout about the successes to everyone!”
Derek Beer Chairman of the Blackmore Vale Line Community Rail Partnership says:
“We are thrilled that Sherborne is playing host to the very first regional awards ceremony on 19th October, sponsored by The Gardens Group. We are delighted that Claire Mann, CEO of South Western Railway is joining us to present the awards.”