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GCRP recognised for Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail

Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership recognised at UK awards for Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail


On Monday 18th March, the GCRP team, minus our amazing Community Rail Officer Faatimah, headed off to Swansea for the 19th Annual Community Rail Awards, organised by Community Rail Network. The awards evening celebrates the work of the individuals, volunteers and organisations across the country that connect communities to their local railway. The award for Outstanding Contribution to Community was given to us jointly with Cooperiate Stationspark Deurne, a station volunteer group from the Netherlands who are helping to put community rail on the map across the Netherlands and further afield!


Community rail is grassroots, community-led movement, made up of community rail partnerships, ‘station friends’ volunteer groups, and other community groups, trusts, enterprises, and schools engaging with railways and stations in different ways. Community rail delivers wide-ranging community engagement initiatives and community-led projects, which play an important role in social inclusion, wellbeing, community confidence and economic development. The movement promotes and widens access to rail as a key part of sustainable, healthy travel, while advising rail partners on local needs, helping communities get the most from their railways and have a voice on transport.


The Community Rail Awards were held at Swansea Arena on 18 March with more than 430 guests including: senior rail and transport leaders, community rail officers and volunteers. It recognised projects supporting diversity, accessibility and inclusion, sustainable travel and tourism, youth and schools engagement, community-led station improvements, empowered communities and influencing positive change.


The Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail award is not something that partnerships can submit an entry for, instead, the judging panel and industry experts get together to discuss and decide who has stood out and made a real difference in their local area. This made it feel all the more special and really took the team by pleasant surprise on the night.


GCRP were given the joint award for;

  • Delivering an impressive programme of activities engaging over 950 young people, empowering them through rail, and helping them have a voice

  • Improving accessible travel confidence, including highlighting step-free and accessible routes from each station

  • Working with housing developers to encourage sustainable and active travel for new homeowners

  • Developing ‘Train Tripper’, a website promoting car-free travel by highlighting the carbon reduction and savings of sustainable trips by rail


The partnership was also celebrated for their recent Black History Map which encourages people to explore more about the county’s Black History.


Jools Townsend, chief executive, Community Rail Network, said: “Congratulations to Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership on their success at our recent Community Rail Awards. We were delighted to be able to recognise the Partnership for their outstanding work engaging young people, celebrating diversity, tackling inequalities, and promoting sustainable tourism. Through our awards we showcase the immense value of community rail, helping to build stronger, fairer, greener communities, served and connected by their railways and wider sustainable transport network.”


The awards are supported by some of the key transport operators across the country, and this year’s awards, hosted in Swansea were jointly sponsored by Transport for Wales and Great Western Railway.


Mark Hopwood, Manager Director, Great Western Railway said:

“GWR has 11 Community Rail Partnerships on our network, and we are incredibly proud of the work they do. It is especially pleasing that Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership has been recognised too for the Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail Award and so well deserved.”

Hannah McDonnell, Executive Director, GCRP said of the award win:

"We are incredibly honoured to receive this award, especially as a relatively young community rail partnership. This award is testament to the power of building strong links with our community and championing cross sector working for driving social, environmental and economic change”.


We were also awarded as a team, 2nd place for Influencing Positive Change and Sustainability for our Connecting Communities programme for which the judges commented:

A great example of partnership working, with community rail using skills and experience to benefit the wider community. This ticks all the boxes – sustainability, inclusion, community.”
- Nicky Forsdike – Independent Railway Consultant and CRA24 Judge

And, 3rd place in the category for Most Effective Communications Campaign for the Slimbridge Shuttle programme.

Some award shout outs from the GCRP team...

Our heart-felt congratulations go to Platform, our sister organisation, for winning their first place award for Empowering Diverse Groups.

A huge congratulations also to Severnside CRP with GWR REACH and Network Rail Cultural Fusion for winning Best Community Engagement Project for 'Carnival on a train'.

Congratulations to Devon and Conrnwall CRP for 2nd place in the Tourism and Leisure award for their Bus branch videos, demonstrating the public transport connectivity across key tourism locations,

And Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership and Platform were awarded 2nd place for the category of Involving Children and Young People.

Congratulations to all who were nominated and placed in the awards! Full details of all winners can be found here.

We're looking forward to the 2025 awards already and catching up again with the fantastic group of organisations, individuals, volunteers and industry leaders next year!!

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