EMR and partners scoop UK Community Rail Award

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

  • Project that helped vulnerable young people given top award
  • Judges impressed with how scheme led to participants pursuing engineering as a career choice
  • Two other EMR projects also received accolades

A project run by East Midlands Railway (EMR) and its partners which helped young people learn engineering skills has won a national award.

The project, entitled 'Turning around vulnerable young lives through engineering', won the top prize in the Involving Children and Young People category at this year's Community Rail Network's Community Rail Awards.

The UK-wide awards recognise the hard work of everybody involved in community rail - including volunteers, train operators and community groups.

The project, developed in conjunction with Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) and Engineered Learning - an organisation that specialises in educating vulnerable young people - provided the participants with the opportunity to take part in a range of activities.

As well as creating a new arch for Duffield station and learning welding and fabricating skills through Engineered Learning, they also took part in team building exercises, a rail safety talk, a tour of Derby station and undertook a personal development and careers advice session - giving the students an insight into potential future industry opportunities.

Jools Townsend, Chief Executive at the Community Rail Network, said: “Our congratulations go to the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership for its fantastic initiative bringing together a group of young people not in education, employment or training and giving them valuable work experience.

"Judges noted the benefits experienced by the young people involved, not only creating a well-engineered piece of artwork but gaining useful qualifications and which led to some of the group going back into education and pursuing engineering as a career choice."

Trevor Ainsworth, Derwent Valley Line CRP Chair, said: "I am immensely proud of being involved in this project and what it has achieved. These young people were at a crossroads in their life and for some, the completion of it has positively changed their direction. Three of them have now gained places in education or employment within the wider engineering sphere.

"Not only have they succeeded in that, but they have also designed and manufactured a piece of lasting art, that is the gateway to Duffield station."

Donna Adams, Community Engagement Manager at East Midlands Railway, said: "I could not be prouder that this project has been recognised.

"It is a great example of how when passionate people collaborate and work hard they can make a real difference to their community and to people's lives."

Dan Read, Managing Director of Engineered Learning, said: "This project helped to raise the aspirations of some of our most vulnerable young people. I think it’s fair to say that the social and economic impact of this project will be experienced by the local community at least for the foreseeable future. Our huge thanks go to our partners for helping to make this massive difference to the lives of our young people."

Other EMR projects also received accolades by the Community Rail Network judges, these included:

Third place - Small projects award - North Staffs CRP, Friends of Alsager Station and East Midlands Railway - Alsager Station Adopt-A-Station

Third place - Tourism and Leisure award - Derwent Valley Line - Promoting post covid return to Rail travel, walks and attractions

Community Fund - apply now!

The fund, which is the first of its kind for the railway industry in the East Midlands, is available to community rail partnerships, station adoption groups, charities, community interest companies, schools, youth organisations and sports clubs.

To qualify the group or organisation must operate within 15km of a EMR station and successfully meet the requirements of funding set out by EMR.

For more information about the fund, including how to apply for funding please visit: https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/community-fund