CRL - Community Rail Lancashire

CRL Team Leader seconded to CRN

Community Rail Lancashire’s Education Team Leader to be seconded to the Community Rail Network in 2023.

Community Rail Lancashire (CRL’s) Education Team, Leader Karen Bennett will be seconded to the Community Rail Network (CRN) for three days a week starting from the 1st January 2023. Karen will help the Community Rail Network develop the Community Rail Education Network and advise on Education and Youth Engagement in Community Rail.

This exciting opportunity for Karen follows discussions between CRL and the CRN to look at the prospects for the continued expansion and development of the Education Network. CRL has been running it for a few years now and at the start of the pandemic Karen thought it would be a good idea to move it on-line. This enabled Community Rail officers as well as rail industry staff from across the country to take part. Apart from offering a forum to share good ideas and the occasional joke, the Network has also successfully delivered a range of big generic projects such as Backtrack, Arlo’s Adventures and Travel with the Green Team. This has shown the potential for Community Rail officers and the wider rail industry to pool expertise to deliver complex projects.

The Community Rail Network is keen to provide enhanced support and leadership across its growing membership on schools and youth engagement in line with the Community Rail Development Strategy. Looking for help to achieve this has led to the secondment of Karen from CRL to the CRN for an initial 6-month period.

In her new role as the Education and Youth Engagement Adviser, Karen will:

• Continue to Chair the Community Rail Education Network and organise 12 meetings a year

• Help CRN’s support and development team to support and advise officers and volunteers on school and youth engagement in addition to working with a small number of Community Rail Partnerships looking to develop education engagement and recruit education officers.

• Deliver training webinars and speak at relevant conferences on the role of community rail in education engagement.

• Assess nationwide rail education and liaise with Network Rail, the British Transport Police, CRPs and Transport Operating Companies to ensure even spread of Rail Education (safety, careers, sustainability and travel confidence).

• Support CRN’s Communications and Policy Team to look at how rail education can fit into the National Curriculum with DfE and DfT.

• Develop plans and ideas for further tools for schools that look at how rail/public transport contributes to achieving sustainability and net zero.

Karen will continue to work at Community Rail Lancashire for two days a week where she will focus on developing the growing education team.

Richard Watts, Chair of Community Rail Lancashire, commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Karen. Since the pandemic the Education Network has gone nationwide and this secondment will enable Karen to use her expertise alongside that of the Community Rail Network to make the Education Network the go to place for Community Rail Officers wanting to find out more about how to engage
with schools, young people and community groups. At the same time, Karen will work with the various teams within the Community Rail Network to look at how they can become more effective in advising CRPs in working with young people.”

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “We’re excited about drawing on CRL’s long-running experience in engaging schools, children and young people with local railways, to spread more of this important work across Britain via the growing community rail movement. It’s so crucial that we empower younger generations to feel confident and able to use rail and other sustainable transport modes, to access the opportunities they want, without adding to pollution, traffic and the climate crisis. The secondment will help the community rail movement to step up its work in this crucial area.”