To celebrate International Volunteer Day on Monday 5th December 2022, we’re sending a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers involved in Community Rail projects and take a closer look at a station adoption group at Stonehouse Station.
What is station adoption?
Sitting at the heart of local communities, train stations connect people to opportunities for work, leisure and tourism. Creating a sense of community inclusion, station adoption groups play a critical role in making stations welcoming, pleasant and attractive places. These volunteer groups take on various projects such as establishing and maintaining green spaces and food growing, local arts projects and visits with young people to promote travel by rail.
Across Gloucestershire, there are nine train stations serving the county: Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa, Cam and Dursley, Lydney, Ashchurch for Tewkesbury and Moreton-in-Marsh. Through Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership, we support community groups to adopt their local station and provide funding for individual station projects to improve the station environment and add value to the local community.
Supported nationally by Community Rail Network, there are over 1,200 adoption groups nationwide, find out more about station adoption on the Community Rail Network website.
Stonehouse station adopters – Stonehouse in Bloom
Stonehouse in Bloom have won gold every year since 2017 in the RHS Heart of England in Bloom competition and were judged best town. They have been working with Great Western Railway since 2015 to create floral displays at the station and became official station adopters in 2019.
Since then, the team of volunteers have expanded and maintained the number of planters in and around the station, installed a water butt and secured grants for key projects from Community Rail Network. Other projects include the purchase of planters, installation of reservoirs, funding of a community led exhibition by Creative Sustainability, new signage and the planting of a Wedding Cake Tree and a Crab Apple Tree, as part of Stonehouse Community Arboretum (led by John Parker CEO of the Arboricultural Association).
Additionally, they have recently received a grant to rebuild the Station Master's Garden which is now a Community Grow & Share Space with a large, raised bed filled with mixed planting of flowers, fruit and veg and passers-by are invited to help themselves. Stonehouse in Bloom’s current project is to create a garden on the left-hand side of the steps to the station in Queens Road to match one already created on the other side and they are looking forward to future projects to maintain the station and make it a key part of the town and serving the local community.
Debbie Curtis, SIB member says about the station adoption:
“Adopting Stonehouse Station has been a hugely rewarding experience and we are extremely grateful to Gloucestershire Community Rail and GWR for the grant funding we have received to bring our ideas to life. Network Rail have also been extremely supportive and our latest projects wouldn’t have been possible without their backing. Our Britain in Bloom judges were very impressed by the help and encouragement we have received from all these organisations and we look forward to keeping up this good work in the future”.
If you and your local community group are interested in the adoption of a Gloucestershire station and funding to make your local station a welcoming, pleasant and attractive place to visit, please contact email@example.com to find out which stations are open for adoption and more information about the opportunities at each station.