Greater Anglia has recognised its volunteers across the region who have worked to bring their local rail stations to the heart of their communities. The train operator held its annual Station Adopter Awards in an online virtual event that showcased station gardens, floral displays and projects.
On the East Suffolk Lines Sandy Burn was recognised for ‘Best Personal Contribution’ for transforming Westerfield station. Sandy recently started a community project involving the cub scouts, parish council, East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership and the Community Rail Network to improve the wellbeing of local people and provide a haven for wildlife.
Seventy-two square metres of land adjacent to the Ipswich-bound platform will be transformed by planting over 200 native plants including perennials, grasses and wildflower seed along with a planter for herbs on the opposite platform for the community to use.
The new volunteer at Saxmundham station was named ‘Best Newcomer’ and praised for plans for a new station garden in line with the redevelopment of the fire-damaged station building and new car park. Plans are afoot with Leiston Works Railway and the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership that will see interpretation boards documenting the history of the railway installed at the station.
At Derby Road station in Ipswich volunteers were commended for their efforts to bring the community together to turn a large area of wasteland into a wildflower haven for pollinating insects. The 215 square metre plot on the Ipswich-bound side will also serve as a welcoming gateway for passengers
Lowestoft station volunteers Jacqui Dale, Andy Swan, Trevor Garrod and Tim Miller were praised for involving the wider community in their work with the ongoing Lowestoft Central Project which has included the opening last July of a new tourist information, shop and community rail hub.
At nearby Needham Market the station was named ‘Most Improved’ after the dedication of the volunteer team including Claire Kendall who is also the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership officer, Christine Dobson, Heather Bloomfield and Vera Cousins. Their efforts resulted in the establishing of a wildflower garden and woodland area.
Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative sees local people across the network get involved with their local stations to come up with ideas and projects that benefit their communities.
Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said: “Our station adopters are very special people who achieve amazing things to benefit their communities and make them better places to live with their enthusiasm to bring rural stations to life and restore their links to the communities they serve.
“The adopters know their stations and the needs of their community well and we are happy to support their aims through small grants and facilitating improvements.
“I am delighted that we can also recognise and thank them through the Adopter Awards – we’ve seen some fantastic and innovative projects this year and I would like to thank them all for their continued hard work.”