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Community stations membership

How we support ‘community stations’

Annual fees: £80+VAT pa, or £40+VAT pa for start-up/unfunded groups*

This membership category is for groups, organisations and social enterprises that are working to restore and rejuvenate station buildings for community use and benefit, and those that are already running community-benefitting projects and enterprises within stations.

We know that these projects are hugely beneficial for local communities, creating community hubs, focal points, facilities, and opportunities, and they deliver value for the railway and its passengers too, rejuvenating stations and bringing them back into the heart of their communities. Read about some existing projects we’ve worked with in our Community Stations report.

We recognise that these groups often need different types of advice from station friends (carrying out volunteering activities at and around stations) and community rail partnerships (working to engage communities in their local railway(s). However, there will be some overlap, so if you’re unsure which category is best for you, feel free to contact us on

Our support offer to community stations members

Buildings advice & signposting

Expert advice, guidance, and signposting from our community stations manager on buildings development and maintenance issues, including building regulations, conservation status, planning, accessibility, other considerations in redeveloping and maintaining buildings, and referral to experts at the Railway Heritage Trust where relevant.

Signposting and discounted rates (where possible) on professional services, including surveyors, solicitors with relevant expertise, health and safety advisors, and insurers that offer relevant cover, from our suggested suppliers [LINK].

Railway and community rail advice & support

Expert advice on practical matters, and facilitation to aid effective partnership working with train operators and Network Rail, including on typical processes, contacts and timeframes; accessibility, health and safety, insurance, and other considerations and requirements; lease arrangements.

Guidance on community uses for stations that have worked elsewhere and are likely to be sustainable, with reference to wider good practice, and local community needs and circumstances.

Access to our wider community rail network, knowledge-sharing, resources, and events, including:

  • Access to the Community Rail Network Small Grants Scheme [LINK] and signposting to other relevant funding sources
  • Being connected with other community stations, and community rail partnerships and friends groups, and able to share experiences and collaborate
  • Access to our growing range of community rail toolkits, guidance, and case studies, such as on social inclusion, communications and community engagement
  • Free places at our annual Conference, sharing expert advice and good practice case studies on community rail work, and offering networking opportunities
  • Being encouraged to engage with, enter, and draw ideas from our annual Community Rail Awards, and the chance to share your successes via our communications
  • Access to the Impact activity reporting tool which allows groups to track and record their activities and assess their outcomes and impact
  • Your interests represented through our regular contact with the Department for Transport, rail industry partners and other national organisations, aiming to create a supportive environment for community stations to flourish

Social enterprise and community business advice & signposting

Basic guidance on the main forms, structures, principles, and considerations for setting up and running a social enterprise, both in general and specific to a rail context, drawing on our social enterprise toolkit.

Referral to more in-depth specialist social enterprise and community business advice through our partners, and where possible offering discounted reciprocal membership:

  • Plunkett Foundation – access to specialist community business advice and support from Plunkett’s special advisors. To request support call 01993 810 730 or complete their online form.

Facilitating and encouraging buddying and mentoring between community stations projects and other community initiatives and enterprises that can learn from one another.

* The lower fee is at Community Rail Network’s discretion, but usually available to groups that are getting set up, receiving less than £1,000 in funding per year, or enterprises with very low profits, that would struggle to pay the higher fee. Please state in your application if you feel you qualify and why.

Download membership form.