Current community projects

Discover more about our Your Community, Your Fund projects

Welcome to our project page! A page dedicated to all our amazing community projects that have been awarded a share of our Your Community, Your Fund grant. Keep on track with their progress as we see these projects bloom over the upcoming months.

Check out what projects are currently happening across our network below!

Who's involved?

The Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership will be leading on the project with support from Hertfordshire County Council, Communities First and volunteers who are keen to get involved.

The Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership is part of our 6.5-mile local railway line which runs from our Watford Junction station to St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. Opened in May 1858, the Abbey Line has given over 150 years of continuous service to the local community and aims to continue that legacy.

The project explained

Ready for the Abbey Line to blossom? This project aims to deliver new planters at Watford Junction, Watford North, How Wood, Park Street and St Albans Abbey; all of which are located on our Abbey Line.

The planters will allow us to have beautiful plants at the station without the need for constant watering. The project will make it possible to have more volunteers that can work at the stations with more planters to work on; which will ultimately make the stations more inviting for passengers and the community.

Who's involved?

Berkhamsted based charity, The Swan Youth Project, aims to support young people by providing an environment where their personalities and life skills can develop, enabling them to become productive and contributing individuals of society.

The project explained

The focus of this project is to reduce crime and challenge teenager's assumptions, such as the thought of ‘needing a knife to stay safe'. Instead, the project will help build individuals' self-esteem and restore their confidence that safety can come from the community and within themselves.

Who's involved?

Bricket Wood Station Heritage Trust will be taking on this project since being awarded a share of our Your Community, Your Fund grant. Like many rural railway stations, Bricket Wood was once the pride of the village and now needs some TLC (tender loving care).

The project explained

This project will see the disused station building, which has been abandoned since the 1970s brought to life as Bricket Wood Station Heritage Trust will be using their share of the grant to convert the building into a brand-new community hub, complete with facilities to hold records of Bricket Wood.

The records will be open to the public and will store some of Bricket Woods best kept physical archives, including files, documents and photos etc...

Who's involved?

Trees for station road Long Buckby are on a mission to help improve the appearance of the area, attracting wildlife and helping absorb pollution.

The project explained

The project will bring members of the community together to improve the ecological environment by planting a variety of small trees and flowers along Station Road, Long Buckby.

Who's involved?

The project is run by Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes (WNSMK) which first began when, during the severe winter of 2010, Milton Keynes Council recorded an increase in the number of homeless people in the area. Since then, the WNSMK, which operates from its base at Unity Park Station, has supported the homeless, the vulnerable and those who are struggling with mental health.

The project explained

Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes, secured a share of our Your Community, Your Fund grant to help support their cause, by providing the homeless with food, clothing, other essentials, and to help people find more permanent accommodation and work. Overall, providing that much-needed welcome and warm environment for those who need it.

In a 'normal year', WNSMK would reduce their winter operations at the end of March and spend the summer making fundraising plans and putting arrangements together for venues and volunteer recruitment to be ready to go in the autumn. However, the coronavirus pandemic has seen an unprecedented increase in need, and along with other factors, the shelter is dealing with more complex cases which resulted in more people being reliant on their help for longer.

Step inside and take a look

In normal times, the shelter would invite you into the centre to show those who are interested in supporting the operation what they do. Given that they can’t do that at the moment, Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes' Communications Manager, Sara Millington is here to take you on a virtual tour to see what happens at the centre.

Who's involved?

Escape Arts are running this project with support from established local artists and contacts who already work with the group. The charity helps people of all ages work together on art and heritage projects with the aim to build strong, happy communities whilst supporting people's wellbeing.

The project explained

Anyone who has ever travelled on the railway has heard the phrase 'Mind the Gap', but in this project's case, it means a whole other thing. The Mind the Gap project will use our Your Community, Your Fund grant to invest in the regeneration of the station gallery, creating a dynamic community cultural and wellbeing hub which will deliver a change-making programme with lasting legacy archives linked to rail heritage and place-based memories. All underpinned by an exciting volunteer and emerging youth talent programme.

Who's involved?

Milton Keynes Council, the local authority of the Borough of Milton Keynes, is striving to be a place designed for people who want to get more out of life. Milton Keynes Council has ambitious plans for the area to increase economic development and growth with the aim to create an area that will be an even more attractive place to work, live and learn.

The project explained

Milton Keynes Council seeks to transform Station Square located outside Milton Keynes Central station. The area is a public transport hub connecting rail passengers with other transport services such as buses, bicycle hires and taxis (plus walking routes to the city centre for those of us who are counting our steps).

The Square is the first place visitors see when leaving the doors of the station, so shouldn't this be a place that makes a good first impression?

The aim of the project is to improve the Square, which has been identified as soulless and colourless, with a lack of green space. Therefore, the project will address these issues by improving cycle infrastructure, creating new landscaping and biodiversity enhancements, installing smart bins and better recycling facilities, improved wayfinding signage and better waiting shelters. All of these enhancements will transform the user experience by creating an attractive gateway to the city which will increase dwell time, social cohesion and economic activity.

Chase Aqua Rural Enterprise (CARE CIC) is a wellbeing project providing therapeutic rural activities, vocational skills and accredited training focusing on adults with mental health issues, learning/physical difficulties, and those who feel socially isolated that need help re-engaging in positive independent lifestyles.

The project explained

CARE will be using their share of the fund to support individuals through their Active on Track programme. The 10-month programme will help develop member's self-esteem and skills whilst improving their personal wellbeing all in the comfort of a beautiful rural setting in Penkridge.

Who's involved?

The Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership (MVCRP) will be the ones that will be leading the project. The MVCRP is one of a growing number of community rail partnerships across the country which is situated between our Bedford and Bletchley railway line. The Partnership work on engaging communities and helping people get the most from their railway through promoting social inclusion and sustainable travel.

The project explained

Who doesn't love a refresh? The funding for this project will be used to improve the visitor experience at Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre located on our Marston Vale route. The improvements will see the installation of replica gas lamps in the meeting room (complete with LED bulbs... snazzy), audio facilities in the booking office for visitors to listen to clips, audio-visual facilities in the foyer, a pathway around the building for people who have a disability, smart new welcome signage outside the building, installation of hand dryers in the toilets and a hot water heater timer.

About Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre

The Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre is an award-winning hidden gem located at our Ridgmont Railway Station on the Marston Vale railway line. The station building is built in the distinctive Victorian Gothic ‘Cottage Orné’ style that offers group and volunteering opportunities, a heritage gift shop, a vintage tea room, and a selection of outdoor walks.

Living near Tring and Cheddington and need a little help from a friend? This project will provide a pilot community transport scheme linking the town and parishes to the station for those who need help getting to the station. Whether that be because of age, sickness, poverty, or a disability, this project will help communities get the transport they need.

Who's involved?

Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council situated in Milton Keynes is working in partnership with Milton Keynes Council and West Midland Railways to deliver the new signage project.

The project explained

As Wolverton Station is not situated in the centre of town, Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council want to use the project funding to increase the directional signage for passengers, with the aim to increase commuters and visitors to the station and town.

Who's involved?

Women in Community Rail (WiCR) was established to help support colleagues in the community rail family work towards a more inclusive, tolerant, and diverse membership, giving a true reflection of its customers and the wider make-up of society. The aim for women in community rail is to have a voice from grass-roots up to board level while bringing everyone collectively on a journey to ‘Achieve Change Together'.

The WiCR steering group is made up of women and men from all different backgrounds with a variety of experiences. They are all passionate about working towards a more inclusive, tolerant and diverse community rail family, so why not find out more about them?

The project explained

Part of our Your Community, your Fund grant will see the hiring of a part-time support officer who will help develop the Women in Community Rail website, increase Twitter engagement and have a greater presence on social media. The project will provide more training events for its members, engage with more diverse community groups, and provide more opportunities to share best practice with industry colleagues and communities.