Community rail partnerships (CRPs) form the backbone of the community rail movement, working to engage local communities in their railway along a route or multiple routes. Community Rail Network works to support CRPs to be effective and sustainable; joining as a full member for just £150+VAT per year is the best way to access this. Full members must be properly constituted and are admitted at our board’s discretion. Groups that are working towards becoming a CRP but are not yet fully set up and funded* can access this at half price.
Our support for CRPs tends to focus around an annual visit and ‘line plan’ meeting, where we work with you to plan ahead, focus on your key priorities, and operate in an effective way. We also offer free access to a range of events, learning opportunities and resources, and advice on activities and issues you’re working on throughout the year. Members get:
- At least one annual visit with annual planning meeting (subject to your cooperation arranging this) to support you to: reflect on your work in the past year; identify opportunities for development; consider needs within your area; plan priority activities for the coming year; consider support, information and funding available to help you deliver this work;
- Our advice as needed throughout the year (provided within reason, usually by phone and email, but may include additional visits) on issues and work you are delivering, to help you to be effective. Advice can be provided by our in-house experts on community rail planning and delivery, communications and marketing, tourism promotion, station buildings development, community engagement and social inclusion. It also includes signposting useful information and partners, and putting you in touch with other members who have experienced similar issues;
- Training, skills and professional development services. A range of training opportunities, workshops, tools and materials, tuned in to the practical needs of community rail partnerships and groups.
- Free places at Community Rail Network events sharing advice and good practice. This includes at least one place per membership at each of: our annual Community Rail Conference run with the Department for Transport; member seminars (usually one in the South, one in the North); and workshops and webinars on key topics. Additional free or at-cost places may be available by prior arrangement. Free places are not available at our Awards, but there is a low-cost sliding scale tariff;
- Access to (and invitation to contribute to) our monthly bulletin and a range of resources, reports, tools and templates, including advice and signposting from our expert team to help you put this information into practice;
- Access to relevant grant schemes managed by Community Rail Network and support accessing other funding opportunities. CRP members in England with ‘accredited’ status can access the Department for Transport’s Community Rail Development Fund and members in England can access the Department for Transport’s small grants scheme (up to £2,500 for CRPs);
- Access to the Impact activity reporting tool which allows groups to track and record their activities and assess their outcomes and impact;
- A say in Community Rail Network’s work, including at our AGM (one vote per full membership), through our members’ survey, or by giving us your views at other times on how we can improve;
- Suggested suppliers to help you find services that suit your needs and budget;
- Access and referral to more in-depth specialist support from our partners, including the Plunkett Foundation.
* We usually count CRPs receiving less than £1,000 per annum as ‘unfunded’, but this is dependent on individual circumstances and at Community Rail Network’s discretion.