Community rail volunteers to 'play big role' in sector's recovery
- Credit: Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership
Members of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership are striving towards a greener future for transport after COVID-19.
In South Cambs, the partnership works to engage communities with their local railway line, promote sustainable travel by rail and enhance the station environment with gardening projects.
Figures from a recent Community Rail Network briefing highlight that across the Midlands and east of England 8,000 volunteers give 37,000 annually to improve social inclusion, promote sustainable travel and support local economic development and tourism.
Susan van de Ven, chair of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership, said: "We're delighted to join in the celebration of Community Rail and all that it stands for: access to opportunity, both locally and to a wider world, and bringing together people and communities.
"Partnership - whether with our schools, pubs, care homes, big and small businesses, mental health charities, or local gardening and history groups, and of course the people who run our trains and look after our stations - has been a joy for all involved.
"We now look forward to playing our part in building back confidence in a much valued local public transport service.”
The partnership also aims to promote sustainable tourism by providing suggested walks, and producing leaflets showing local attractions, pubs and nature reserves.
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They also engage with schools and provide 'try a train' trips for people with barriers to travelling by rail.
With the sector taking a huge hit from COVID-19, limiting the amount people have been able to travel by rail, the partnership hopes to play a significant role as part of a 'green recovery', along with 12 other community rail partnerships across the midlands and east of England.
Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: "As we start to rebuild from COVID-19, within the community rail movement, and across our railways, we will be redoubling efforts, to create confidence and togetherness, and play our part in enabling more people to get around by socially and environmentally responsible means."