5 minute read – South Western Railway commits a further £265,000 to community rail, as the Reading to Ashford, Windsor & Eton partnership joins the club

South Western Railway (SWR) has announced that it is committing a further £265,000 to Community Rail Partnerships across its network, with a new alliance on the Reading to Ashford and Windsor & Eton Riverside lines just launched. It brings the total number of community rail partnerships across SWR’s network to 12.

Community Rail Partnerships – or CRPs – are not-for-profit organisations that help connect SWR with the communities it serves. Connecting people and communities is at the heart of SWR, and CRPs focus on a wide range of projects which aim to:

  • promote sustainable and healthy travel
  • bring communities together
  • support social and economic development

The new CRP will stretch from Reading to Ashford and Windsor & Eton Riverside, and work with local schools and community groups, with a focus on supporting people who face barriers to travel. Seven stations in the area have already been “adopted” by local arts societies and organisations that support those in the community who have mental health needs and disabilities, and the CRP will be partnering with these groups to provide further support.

The funding from SWR is invested in both projects and employing an officer for each CRP, who delivers  the community activity. SWR is actively involved with each CRP, working in partnership with them to deliver outcomes that benefit as many people as possible.

Tim Barkley, Chair of Southeast Communities Rail Partnership CIC said:

“We are very grateful for the support from South Western Railway in creating our new Community Rail Partnership. Communities and railways work hand in hand together to promote social inclusion, support local businesses, involve local communities, and encourage travel by rail.

“We are looking forward to welcoming passengers safely back on board to take them on a journey of discovery to experience the best that that our region has to offer – whether that be culture, countryside, water sports, leisure activities or outstanding food and drink.

“What better way is there to have a relaxing and stress-free day out than taking the train to enjoy all that our beautiful part of the Thames Valley has to offer?”

Paula Aldridge, Community Rail Manager, South Western Railway commented: 

“Despite the challenges of 2020 and 2021, community rail has continued to grow across our network.

“South Western Railway is delighted to have supported so many vibrant Community Rail Partnerships, and we look forward to continuing our work with these organisations, and others, in 2021 and beyond.”

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