London Midland aiming for art recognition

Great eight shortlisted for national Community Rail Awards.

Community rail projects from all over the London Midland network have been shortlisted in the 2017 Community Rail Awards.

In the West Midlands, London Midland’s community rail art project with Sandwell College for Smethwick Rolfe Street station has made the shortlist. The station mural, with the message Love Thy Neighbour in many different languages celebrates the diversity of the area and has been shortlisted for Community Art Schemes (permanent projects). The Sandwell College work experience and station adoption projects aimed at enhancing the station are shortlisted under Involving Diverse Groups.

The awards, which are now in their 13th year, recognise the important but often unsung work carried out by community rail partnerships and station adoption groups, amongst others. All of which provide a welcome social and economic contribution to their communities.

The Community Rail Partnerships of the Marston Vale Line (Bletchley-Bedford) and Abbey Line (Watford Junction-St Albans Abbey), which are partly funded by London Midland, also have projects shortlisted.

Marston Vale has been put through to the Innovation in Community Rail category for the special Sunday services to Bedford River Festival in 2016. The Abbey Line Fun Day, held in June this year, has been shortlisted for Best Community Engagement Event, together with the Oaklands College Marketing project, which has made the list for the Involving Young People category.

The creativity of local communities has also been recognised with two further shortlistings. Visit Stone, a series of 15 promotional posters designed by local amateur artists, and a unique art exhibition for Nuneaton station called On Track, which was arranged and hosted by members of Art Alert Nuneaton who are the station adopters.

A project led by Wellington station adopter Bob Coalbran, which saw a bespoke walkers’ information case built from wood off-cuts, has also been shortlisted in the Small Projects category. The work was undertaken by members of the Telford and Wrekin Council Skills and Enterprise Hub at Horsehay, which offers work-based training for adults with learning disabilities.

Richard Brooks, commercial director at London Midland, said: “Having eight projects shortlisted for awards is a great achievement and one in which everyone involved should be extremely proud. Getting closer to the communities we serve is one of our main focuses and it is excellent to see that all the hard work is being recognised by these prestigious national awards.”

Faye Lambert, head of community rail at London Midland, said: “The shortlisted entries are testament to a lot of hard work which has gone into community rail over the past year. We are able to provide the help and support for these projects but their success is only made possible by the commitment of all of the individuals and community groups involved, who have really pulled out all the stops to show their pride for their local railway.”

The awards ceremony is being held at The Roundhouse in Derby on Thursday 5th October.