Quintet of shortlistings for the Bentham Line at the National Community Rail Awards 2024

Local community groups, the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (LMCRP) and the Friends of Bentham Station (FOBS) have recently received the good news that all of their Five entries had been short listed in four categories for the National Community Rail Awards 2024.

The Community Rail Partnership have been shortlisted twice, in the ‘Community Creative Projects and Station Arts’ and the ‘Most Effective Communications Campaign’ categories.

With the help and support of numerous rail bodies, local councils, volunteer organisations and a nearby primary school, the CRP undertook a rejuvenation of Heysham Port station, including new Rail and Sail’ artwork to coincide with the introduction of a newly built vessel, ‘Manxman’, on the Isle of Man route.

The CRP alongsidewith Northern Trains’ Year-in Industry students on ‘Destination Wellbeing’ a successful campaign to tackle loneliness and isolation based on using the Bentham Line and its stations. This project developed from the student’s own experiences during the pandemic.

The Friends of Bentham Station entered the ‘It’s Your Station’ category and have been awarded ‘gold status’ for their extensive volunteering work on the station and in the local community. They now wait to find out if they are the ‘top gold station’.

The Chairman of both groups, Gerald Townson, has been shortlisted twice in the Community Rail Photographic Competition for his entries on the theme ‘the essence of community rail’.

The Community Rail Awards, now in its 19th year, recognises the important work carried out by an army, often of volunteers, who work across Britain’s rail network to make stations welcoming spaces for passengers and visitors alike. Alongside this, many of the groups carry out vital community engagement work with schools, colleges, and other local groups to help educate and secure passengers of the future, which is critical to ensuring our railways are an inclusive, sustainable, healthy way to travel.

The winners will be announced at a high-profile Awards Ceremony at the Swansea Arenaon Monday 18th March 2023. The event is jointly sponsored by Great Western Railway and Transport for Wales.

Gerald Townson, Chairman of the LMCRP and FOBS said: “We are extremely delighted that all of our entries have reached the various shortlists and we now look forward to heading to the gala event in Swansea for the results. FOBS are now in their 12th year of volunteering continue to enhance station making it a focal point for the community and Bentham Line passengers. The LMCRP has enjoyed working alongside Northern’s Year-in-Industry students on the thoughtful ‘Destination Wellbeing’ project and numerous partners, including St. Peter’s Primary School, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Peel Ports Ltd., on the rejuvenation of Heysham Port station.”

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network said: “Our Community Rail Awards showcase the amazing projects, initiatives and people across Britain, that make community rail. This year we’ve received over 200 submissions and as always, the standard of entries has been extremely high. We’re looking forward to joining our community rail colleagues and industry partners to celebrate their hard work, positivity, and dedication at our Awards evening in March.”