Stations in Bloom is flying the celebration flag in recognition of the wonderful efforts of station volunteers 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.
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.
Judges 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; others may not be open on the day such as the free shops and baby clothes banks.
All judges recommendations receive public recognition and awards at a special regional awards ceremony on October 19th 2022, sponsored by leading West Country business, The Garden Group and presented with awards by CEO of South Western Railway Claire Mann.