Scouts put community in the picture at station

People of Stechford captured on camera.

Members of a local Scout group gathered at Stechford station on London Midland’s Birmingham to Coventry route yesterday for the unveiling of a striking new photography collection, produced in celebration of the town’s diverse community.

Called Faces of Stechford, the community rail project was sponsored by London Midland working in partnership with local arts forum, Arts In The Yard. 80 members of the local community signed up with the 261st Birmingham St Edburgha’s (Yardley) Scouts to have their photographs taken.

The 17 Scouts, supported by their parents, leaders and professional local portrait photographer Ian Davies, got behind the camera to lead a series of portrait photography sessions for local people, both at Ian’s studio and outside Stechford station. Ian provided training in how to use a professional camera in a studio setting, as well as editing and selecting photos for the final ensemble, which was then all done by the Scouts. The result of the sessions is a unique and vibrant piece made up of three double royal portrait panels, featuring local people of a variety of ages and cultures, which is now on permanent display at the station

Faye Lambert, head of community rail at London Midland, commented: “A key objective of our community rail projects is to help people share skills through interaction with their local community to help make a difference to their station. Through this project, the Scouts and their leaders have learned about portrait photography and how to get the most out of a modern digital camera and their creative knowledge has thrived.

“Our sponsorship of this project through Arts in the Yard has welcomed the people of Stechford to become a big part of their local railway. These include the 261st Scout group, photographer Ian Davies, Shades of Black and local community campaigner Mrs Eunice McGhie-Belgrave MBE, Holy Souls School and the community of Stechford. We would like to thank them for helping to build the foundation for many more community rail projects for Stechford station.

“Faces of Stechford is also part of the local Stechford In Bloom project, and has been so well received that we plan to extend it to many more of our stations as a great way to link communities to the railway.”

Nicola Toms, artist and Project Manager at Arts In The Yard, said: “Our time spent working with all the groups, residents and business owners in Stechford as part of this project has been hugely rewarding and has also provided a big confidence boost to the Scouts. We have been overwhelmed with the response we have received from local people about the project, who were just thrilled to get involved and to have their portraits taken.”