The Designated Lines Seminar is an annual event organised by the Department of Transport and the 2015 event was held in Nottingham. For the second year rail operator Abellio have sponsored the ‘Abellio Best Practice Challenge’. This years challenge had emphasis on diversity and equality outcomes for the following protected characteristics:
Sex (particularly women);
Age (particularly younger people);
Sexual orientation (particularly gay, lesbian and bisexual)
The East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership entered this year’s challenge with a project called ‘Altogether Now’ and won outright with unconditional prize of £2000.
‘Altogether Now’ is an innovative project that will engage with disadvantaged people and local students to revive Pleasington Station, a rundown station on the East Lancashire line. The project will combine the expertise of Community Rail Lancashire (CRL), Northern Rail, a local artist (Alastair Nicholson), Stanley Grange and Blackburn College to develop an imaginative project that will rejuvenate this station. Stanley Grange is a voluntary organisation that works with people who have a range of disabilities such as cerebral palsy and autism, it also runs its own nursery. The project will provide new opportunities for these people to engage with the community and work alongside students from Blackburn College. The students will survey passengers to identify their requirements for the station and this will be used to develop and fine tune the project. Stanley Grange will provide new planted areas and flower tubs and a community art project will be developed that will add colour and panache at the revived station.
For the students the project will contribute towards their Public Service NVQ Level 2 and for the residents of Stanley Grange it will raise their self-esteem and bring them actively into contact with other members of their local community. Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council are also funding the refurbishment of the other facilities at the station using funding from their Local Sustainability Transport Fund (LSTF). The students will conduct an after survey of passengers.
Once completed Stanley Grange will continue to look after the planted areas – in effect adopting the station.