Mytholmroyd Station Partnership scoops top prize at national Community Rail Awards

Members of the Mytholmroyd Station Partnership with Friends of Bentham Station on a recent twinning visit
Members of the Mytholmroyd Station Partnership with Friends of Bentham Station on a recent twinning visit

Mytholmroyd Station Partnership has taken a top award at the annual Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) Community Rail Awards gala dinner for its work engaging the community in local environmental projects and bringing the station back into the heart of the community.

The partnership beat off strong nationwide competition on a showcase night for the community rail movement, with their programme of projects aiming to put the railways back into the heart of the communities they serve.

The partnership also won the 2019 ‘Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail’ Award and in 2017 won the ACoRP Small Projects Award for their youth engagement work with local Cubs.

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Led by Geoff and Sue Mitchell, the partnership is extremely active in reaching out to their local community, involving volunteers in a range of gardening and planting activities.

Chairman Geoff Mitchell said: “It was a wonderful surprise and experience as myself, George, Deputy Chairman and Sue, Secretary, officers of Mytholmroyd Station Partnership proudly accepted the crystal Trophy on behalf of all the members.

“The Partnership has coordinated their station work with the local schools, community and businesses.”

“Our unique Fanfare for local Business received recognition following projects with Calder Weaving, Walkleys Clogs, Urban Cottage Industries and Royd Ices.

“Mytholmroyd is now certainly on the nation rail map - even though some people have difficulty pronouncing the name!”

The group’s biggest and most significant project has been the renovation of a three-storey station building. The listed structure was closed to the public in the 1980s when new platforms were built.

Over a period of more than 20 years, the building became a dilapidated eyesore, but the station partnership continually said that there was “constant demand” from the local community to bring it back into use.

The group has developed a business case to convert the building for community use and commissioned a full feasibility study. Initial plans included a marketplace of activities showcasing local businesses and start-ups as well as space for a local food manufacturer, art studios and a community gallery.

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The Community Rail Awards, now in its 15th year, recognises the important and often unsung work carried out by community rail partnerships, station friends and other community rail groups across the country.

The awards shine a light and reward the breadth of important work happening across this grassroots movement, helping to share good practice, spread the word about community rail’s contribution to mobility, sustainability, prosperity and wellbeing, and encourage more people to get involved.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said: “Our congratulations go to Mytholmroyd Station Partnership for scooping this top award, for making an outstanding contribution to community rail.

"These awards celebrate the passion and hard work of community rail groups and volunteers across Britain, who make up a growing grassroots movement, striving to make a difference locally. Community rail work often goes unsung, but awareness and involvement is on the increase: this year a record 450 community rail representatives, and their rail industry and government partners, saw the Community Rail Awards presented at an inspiring ceremony.

"The efforts of Mytholmroyd Station Partnership, and all our winners, show how important community rail is, connecting local people with their railways, and building happier, more inclusive and sustainable communities.”

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