North West Community Volunteering Event
15 October 2020
Posted by: Ben Ellis
On Sunday 04/10, while much of Britain was being rained on heavily, a group of volunteers from the YRP North West region were pleased to see that glorious Cheshire sunshine had decided to beam down on their day of socially-distanced volunteering. In what is a YRP first, members of the North West Committee chose to volunteer their Sunday to help Alderley Edge In Bloom, who volunteer under a Network Rail Community License to improve Alderley Edge station in their spare time. NW Committee members spent the day side-by-side with local volunteers picking litter which was spread throughout the station and surrounding areas, as well as carrying out de-vegetation works in a compound adjacent to the lineside. Never before has a YRP region engaged community rail efforts, until now.
The event adhered to covid-secure guidance at all times, with participants adhering to social distancing and wearing masks and gloves where required. In total, Fifteen bags of litter – including a newspaper dating back to the mid-1990s – were recovered as part of the total effort. The affected compound saw its weeds and overgrown plants trimmed from chest-height to ground level. All litter and foliage collected will now be collected and disposed of in an environmentally-conscious way by Network Rail’s Manchester Delivery Unit.
The event also served as proof of concept which will pave the way for future collaborations between YRP NW and local community rail groups. Once the current pandemic is under control, members in the North West can expect opportunities like this to become available to them, too. YRP NW Community Rail Engagement Manager, Pete Simons, said that “Events like these are an absolute win-win for everybody involved. For our members, it’s a chance to get out in the fresh air and do their bit to give back to the communities who are the lifeblood of our railways, but they also get the chance to meet new people and form the sort of bonds which are only possible through working a day’s graft together. For the community groups on the receiving end of our volunteering, the energy which 15-20 energetic young volunteers can bring to a community can bring a good and proper ‘steamroller’ effect to their community effort in terms of getting things done, especially where the effort is run by a smaller group of volunteers or a lone husband & wife as is sometimes the case. We’re only just getting started in terms of building relationships with groups and projects, but we’ve already got 3 or 4 interested parties who we’re looking forward to help out as soon as we’re able to. Watch this space!”
Alderley Edge in Bloom were grateful for the efforts from YRP NW, and will use this momentum to help their efforts towards their 2021 Britain in Bloom entry. For the team on the ground on the day, friendships were formed, bonds were strengthened, and a good time was had by all.”
Thanks to our Community Engagement Manager, Peter Simons for the article.