Like so many others put out of action by social distancing, regular contributors to Community Rail News, Friends of Buxton Station (FoBS) are challenging frustrated station adopters and friends to write a cheerful short story about their station or community.
Lots of volunteers are getting exasperated by the necessary covid-19 delays, they are “champing at the bit” to get their projects under way or completed, station gardens are getting increasingly overgrown and some are in need of watering. But this irritation is not good for our mental health, negativity never helps. Seeking out positivity, FoBS have come up with an idea that should bring back happy memories.
Dave Carlisle, FoBS chairman is asking: “other volunteers to write a positive, uplifting or happy 50-word mini-saga to make someone smile or laugh out loud in these difficult times. Explain in the story what you enjoy about your voluntary work, why you do it.”
He told how the idea came to him when it became clear all the group’s planned projects would be postponed until late in the summer at best. He heard an unhappy home-schooler on local radio and, with support from Becky Styles, Northern’s community & sustainability manager offered home-schoolers in his region the chance to win a family day rail-pass to be spent after lockdown restrictions had been lifted. Sadly, the uptake was low, but Dave thought it would be an ideal way to lift the lockdown-lows felt by fellow adopters.
Adding: “Listening to the Government’s Covid-19 briefings, I thought about all those folk who were missing out on their volunteer enjoyment. Thinking how wonderful it would be to share uplifting short stories about our work, stations and communities.”
If you want to meet their challenge, using either title “This is what community rail is all about” or “heart of the community,” you’ll need to write a complete happy 50-word story with a beginning, middle and end. It’s not as easy as it seems!
Dave said: “It could be a story about someone working at, leaving or arriving at the station, something seen or heard on the platform or something fantastic happening when working – it doesn’t need to be something real, we want people to let their imaginations run free, beat the lockdown blues and simply have fun being creative.”
However Dave added: “The story could include anything writers want – dragons, unicorns, footballers, YouTubers, wine gums. Anything. Writers can invent parts in the story for friends or fellow volunteers – especially those they’re missing.”
There are no prizes as such, but FoBS have arranged with the Community Rail Network for recordings of the winning entries to feature at the Community Rail Awards on 9 December.
Entries should be presented as a Word document in Arial, font size 12 and emailed to email@example.com. Authors should include under the mini-saga their name, email address and name of their station adoption group. Community Rail News will publish a selection of entries made. By entering, you give your permission for your mini-saga to be published and credited to you.
All entries must be received by 10am on Friday 19 June 2020.