Sunday, 26 September 2010

Railway shows off the Big Society in action

This from Eye follower the Master Draper...

Last Friday I temporarily abandoned my City duties to travel out to the Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend for the sixth annual Community Rail Awards held by the Association of Community and Rail Partnerships.

It now follows on from the National Rail Awards of the previous week but they could not be more different in style.

The National Rail Awards, rightly, focuses on big business and is a glitzy celebration of the industry as its best.

The Community Rail Awards recognises a deeper, more umbilical, relationship between the people and their railways.

The awards recognise those unsung thousands who voluntarily give their time to care for, promote and enhance their local railways - railways which act as a life line to the communities they serve.

Alongside these unsung heroes were elected representatives, local businesses and those within the industry who go out of their way to nurture these growing relationships so that rail can continue to remain at the heart of local communities.

Compared with the production values of a Park Lane event this was a lot less lavish but it was, in the true spirit of community rail, a fun evening staged by an enthusiastic and able team who put on a professional show with a Value For Money budget.

Your correspondent was delighted to see that Network Rail had kindly sponsored the 'Best Station Garden or Floral Display' award category. Sadly none of those shortlisted would have been suitable for Eye's Railway Garden Competition so clearly the message is getting through!

Overall a wonderful evening with Neil Buxton and his willing band of helpers making the evening a huge success. Showing yet again that ACoRP can shine a light on how railways and the community can cost-effectively work together.

I know that the Secretary of State is very busy at present but had he been able to spare the time I think he would have found it an educative and heart-warming evening.

He could then have boasted to his cabinet colleagues that he had seen the 'Big Society’ in action!