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Station adopters rise by a third in bumper year for community spirit on East Midlands Railways

EMR station adopters on the Barton – Cleethorpes line.

The number of station adopters volunteering across the East Midlands has risen by a third in the last year – helping to make stations more attractive, better reflect their local heritage and become more engaging places for passengers. 

Across East Midlands Railway’s network the number of stations adopters rose from 341 to 482, an increase of around 30 per cent, while the number of stations adopted increased from 64 to 79 – out of 102.

Station adopters do a range of important roles: they make sure the station is welcoming; keep an eye out for any unusual activity; report any faults and issues; and maintain planters and gardens. They make a huge difference to every single passenger.

Jake Cole, 25 from Sandbach, is one of EMR’s newest stations adopters. He generously gives up his free time to help improve the station at Kidsgrove.

He said: “I have long held a great interest in the rail industry, as well as a willingness to try and do my little bit of good for the local community where possible. So when I stumbled upon something called station adoption following a Google search, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine the two together.

“Despite being considerably younger than the rest of the team at Kidsgrove, I couldn’t have wished to meet a nicer group of people.

“At a time when a lot of us have been under house arrest, the chance to get outdoors and make a positive difference to the community is both therapeutic and rewarding. It is certainly something that I would recommend to anybody, young or old, especially because just a small amount of time per week can have a great impact.

“Almost one year down the line and I’m yet to miss a weekly team meet up, and plan to continue volunteering in the role for many years to come,”

Ron Sparkes has been a station adopter at the Barton Cleethorpes Community Rail Partnership for 16 years.

He said: “As a lifelong railway enthusiast I took the opportunity to join the Station Adoption Scheme, which was introduced on the Barton Line. It gave me the chance to meet new people, and make new friends, give me some useful things to do, and at the same time help local parish councils and local communities along the line.

 “Volunteering has been a very rewarding experience over the years of my retirement and I would recommend becoming a station adopter to anyone wanting to help their local community.”

Donna Adams, community engagement manager for East Midlands Railway, said: “As we come out of lockdown, the work of station adopters will be central to the recovery of the railways. Customer confidence is key and what the station adopters are doing – making our stations look welcoming and safe – is essential.  They are making a real difference at all our stations.”