Rail volunteers will play a vital role in Covid recovery
Members of a grassroots movement, including a in Mytholmroyd and the Calder Valley, have continued to strive for Northern England’s communities and work towards a greener transport future, despite the pandemic.
Figures from Community Rail Network’s Community Rail in the North briefing – sponsored by Rail Delivery Group - highlight that over 3,000 volunteers give over 140,000 hours annually, valued at £11.7 million, to improve social inclusion and wellbeing, promote sustainable and healthy travel, and support economic development, in their local area.
Working with the North’s 20 community rail partnerships and 350 station groups, they engage local people with their railways and stations, working with train operators, local authorities, and other partners.
Community rail is now looking forward to playing a pivotal role in building back better from Covid, and helping our railways to be a vital component of a greener, more inclusive way forward as part of a ‘green recovery’. In Mytholmroyd, the volunteers of the Station Partnership work to improve the village station for the benefit of residents and visitors.
Geoff and Sue Mitchell, Chairman and Secretary of Mytholmroyd Station Partnership, said: “For the last fifteen years the local schools have had produced many creative projects to enhance the local area – and they have enjoyed the annual Calder Valley Sing-along-the-Line train journey to meet Santa.
“All ages are welcome to contribute to the station improvements – including the former station building which was derelict for thirty years but now being renovated for a planned Community Hub.
“Whilst national Covid restrictions have ‘paused’ our work on the station, it has been possible to coordinate assistance for our local NHS, with travel facilities during the first Lockdown.”
The twenty four members of the Station Partnership were the Winners of the 2019 National Outstanding Contribution for Community Rail.
Commenting on the importance of the community rail movement in the North of England, Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network said: “Community rail is all about communities and connectedness, and people working together locally to make things better for each other and our shared future – that couldn’t be more important right now.”