Kent Community Rail Partnership and Five Acre Wood School in Snodland, have been recognised at the national Community Rail Awards for their innovative work engaging communities with their local railway line and station.
Kent Community Rail Partnership and Five Acre Wood School won the 'Small Projects Award' at the 2022 Community Rail Awards. Photo: Sustrans / Kent CRP
Named the winner of this year’s 'Small Projects Award’, the project involved the creation of a sunflower themed mural for Snodland Station in Kent.
The sunflower - a global symbol for hidden disabilities
The mural was put together by the Partnership and designed by the students at Five Acre Wood School.
It helps to raise awareness of hidden disabilities and celebrates people’s individuality and differences.
Working in partnership with Southeastern, the school designed the mural with a link to the train operator’s ‘Just A Minute’ (JAM) scheme.
It uses the globally recognised symbol for hidden disabilities - the sunflower.
The JAM scheme recognises that some passengers on the railway may have hidden disabilities and need some support.
Southeastern issue JAM cards and sunflower lanyards to passengers that require them.
The sunflower mural celebrates everyone's differences and raises awareness of hidden disabilities. Photo: Sustrans / Kent CRP
Celebrating our individuality and differences
Andy Place, Kent Community Rail Partnership Project Officer at Sustrans said:
“We are delighted for all the students at Five Acre Wood who have worked extremely hard to produce a wonderful mural to help raise awareness that everyone is different - so let’s celebrate this.
“Back in 2019, Five Acre Wood designed a garden at the front of the station, and the students have already identified ideas for their next project - rejuvenating an overgrown allotment area. We are excited to be supporting them with this and projects in the future.
“We would like to thank all our partners, community groups, volunteers, and schools that we work with to serve the communities along our lines.”
The Partnership delivers a variety of projects
Kent Community Rail Partnership delivers a wide range of community engagement and social inclusion initiatives. It supports volunteering at stations, promotes sustainable travel and tourism, and works with railway and local authority partners.
The Partnership was also recognised for its youth engagement, taking third place in the 'Involving Children and Young People' category.
Over the last year, Kent Community Rail Partnership has engaged with over 1800 young people. It has worked with many local primary schools, Ashford and Sheppey Colleges, Five Acre Wood SEN School, and Strood Academy.
This year’s awards ceremony
The 18th national Community Rail Awards were held at Manchester’s Central Convention Complex on Thursday 6 October 2022. The event was hosted by Community Rail Network.
This year’s awards recognised 15 winners, chosen from a diverse array of projects, each building links, positivity and awareness between people and their local railways.
Recognition for partnerships, groups and volunteers
Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said:
“The Community Rail Awards give deserved recognition to community rail partnerships, groups and volunteers across Britain.
"We were thrilled to welcome more than 430 guests, alongside ministers and rail industry leaders, emphasising the great value of community rail, helping to build stronger, fairer, greener communities, served and connected by their railways and wider sustainable transport network.
“Despite another challenging year, the array of entries defied expectations, showing how community rail continues to strive to help people get the most from their railways and stations, and impact positively on local places and people’s lives.
“Our congratulations go to the Kent Community Rail Partnership and Five Acre Wood School, Snodland and all our winners, and thanks to everyone who supports community rail, helping the movement to go from strength to strength.”