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May 2023

Local community group joins national campaign celebrating the vital role of Britain’s railways in bringing communities together

Severnside Community Rail Partnership will join community groups and volunteers across Britain for this year’s Community Rail Week, celebrating how our historic railways connect communities and are helping us move towards a greener, healthier, fairer future.

Community Rail Week, organised by Community Rail Network and sponsored by Rail Delivery Group, runs from 22-28 May, and looks to drive change at a community level through the efforts of 76 community rail partnerships and 1,200 station friends groups across Britain.

Throughout the week, Severnside Community Rail Partnership will be highlighting, via social media, some of its recent and on-going work to ensure the local rail network feels safe and accessible to members of the d/Deaf community.   The week will cumulate in a ‘Days Out By Train’ trip on Friday 26th May, when residents of Buckley Court Supported Living Scheme will take an accompanied trip by train from Clifton Down station to Weston-super-Mare.  The young people joining the trip will learn all about how to travel independently,  and enjoy a typical day at the seaside, thanks to sponsorship from GWR.

Over fifty empowering community events and engaging activities are taking place throughout Community Rail Week nationwide – from Edinburgh to Cornwall – aiming to improve travel confidence, increase access to opportunity, tackle social isolation, give communities a voice, and put railways and stations at the heart of community life. They will also encourage people who rarely use public transport to consider the benefits of making at least the occasional switch to greener, healthier, more social forms of travel, including rail.

Faye Keane, Community Development Officer at Severnside Community Rail Partnership, said:

‘Our trip with Buckley Court is a great example of how we work with communities to address their individual barriers to rail travel and build confidence to make the best of their local railways. As young adults, the residents of Buckley Court are at a crucial point of developing their own skills for more independent living. By participating in Days Out By Train they are more likely to feel good about using their railways to explore the wider world and the opportunities that brings.’

Joe Graham, Business Assurance and Strategy Director at Great Western Railway, said: “Severnside Community Rail Partnership’s ‘Days Out By Train’ trip is a brilliant example of the work it does in the local community and the perfect way to celebrate Community Rail Week. GWR has ten Community Rail Partnerships on our network and we are incredibly proud of the work they do. They have great local knowledge and I know that they all work incredibly hard, as volunteers, inspiring sustainable improvements to their community and the local economy.”

Mark Gill, Community Development Officer at Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, said: “Here at CfD (Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People), our vision is to create a city in which communication is no longer a barrier for Deaf and hard of hearing people, and where everyone can feel part of the vibrant community in which they live.  This is why we are pleased to work alongside Severnside Community Rail Partnership, on their ‘Days Out By Train’ project which offered free trips for small Deaf and hard of hearing groups via train, facilitated by Severnside Community Rail Partnership and funded by GWR”.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Community rail partnerships and thousands of ‘station friends’ volunteers the length and breadth of Britain are this week mobilising en masse, engaging local people and partners to raise awareness about rail travel, and get people enthused about its benefits. It’s all about connecting communities and bringing people together, while supporting and enabling more people to travel sustainably by train and access the opportunities they want. Community rail has an inspiring track record of doing just that: promoting travel confidence and broadening mobility horizons, sometimes with life-changing effects, while giving communities a voice on transport, and putting railways and stations at the heart of community life.”