Who we are
The Severnside Community Rail Partnership was formed in 2004. We work with local communities, local authorities and the rail industry to improve local stations and train services. We are set up as a Community Interest Company. Our running costs are funded by the rail industry and the local authorities. Projects are funded directly by the Partnership, supplemented by specific grants from a variety of sources, and considerably assisted by local and community voluntary work. We have one part-time employee - our Partnership Officer, Heather Cullimore. More information about the organisation and structure of the Partnership in our 2015 Progress Report.
What we do
Our key activity is working with communities to improve the local (and mainly unstaffed) stations - the shop window of the the West of England rail network. Experience elsewhere showed that a key factor in improving stations was local community "ownership". If local schools and youth groups displayed artwork at stations, and the community became actively involved with looking after and improving the station, then the stations became much friendlier, welcoming places. And this is what has happened in the West of England. Local stations have now been transformed.
What we have achieved
When the Partnership was formed, most of the local stations were somewhat neglected - the paint was peeling, former gardens were derelict and often became the dumping ground for refuse; graffiti and petty vandalism were rife. Passengers often felt unsafe and intimidated using the stations, particularly at night. This needed to change! By and large the station infrastructure is still the same - but the stations are now cared for. More welcoming stations has been a significant factor in the tremendous increase in passengers over the last 10 years - up from 7.2 million passengers using the local and regional trains in 2004 to 12.9 million in 2014.
The area we cover
How do I get involved?
We rely on community volunteers - "station friends" - for most of our station work. Brightening up the stations can often involve looking after station gardens. This includes tending flower beds and shrubs, planting out, and then maintaining and watering tubs and baskets, and generally keeping the station tidy. The work is healthy and not strenuous! Indeed if more arduous work is necessary then we have an arrangement with the Probation Service for supervised offenders on the Community Payback scheme to do.We welcome school and youth and community group involvement at stations - artwork displays not only brighten up stations, but publicise the achievements of the schools and groups.
Other volunteering opportunities include helping with passenger counts on trains and at stations. We encourage research and support from College and University students. Innovative ideas are welcomed!