Gloucestershire CRP Award win

Community Rail Partnerships across the GWR network win big at prestigious national awards ceremony

Community Rail Partnerships (CRP) from across the GWR network are celebrating after scooping a host of prizes at the 2024 Community Rail Awards.

The prestigious awards ceremony celebrates the dedication and commitment of all those involved in community rail and the contribution they play in local communities.

Winners of the top prizes at last night’s ceremony in Swansea included the Gloucestershire CRP who were jointly awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail Award; and Heather Cullimore, Manager of Severnside CRP, who received the Board’s Special Recognition Award for outstanding individual contribution.

Gloucestershire CRP, joint winners with Coӧperatie Stationspark Deurne, a station volunteer group in the Netherlands, was recognised for their inspirational initiatives over the past year including:

  • An impressive programme of activities engaging over 950 young people, empowering them through rail, and helping them have a voice
  • Improving accessible travel confidence, including highlighting step-free and accessible routes from each station
  • Working with housing developers to encourage sustainable and active travel for new homeowners
  • Developing ‘Train Tripper’, a website promoting car-free travel by highlighting the carbon reduction and savings of sustainable trips by rail

Hannah McDonnell, Executive Director of the Gloucestershire CRP said:

"We are incredibly honoured to receive this award, especially as a relatively young community rail partnership. This award is testament to the power of building strong links with our community and championing cross sector working for driving social, environmental and economic change."

In being picked out for an individual’s contribution, winner of the Community Rail Board’s Special Recognition Award, Heather Cullimore said:

“Receiving the special recognition award was a complete surprise.  I consider myself to be very fortunate to be in a role I thoroughly enjoy, and where I am fully supported by my colleagues and by our rail industry and local authority partners to develop and deliver a wide range of projects to encourage rail travel and to help local people feel more connected.”

HEATHER CULLIMORE Board's Special Recognition

After having helped present the awards, Great Western Railway Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“GWR has 11 Community Rail Partnerships on our network and we are incredibly proud of the work they do. They have great local knowledge and work incredibly hard, as volunteers, inspiring sustainable improvements to their community and adding value to the local economy.

"It is especially pleasing that Gloucester CRP, and separately Heather Cullimore from Severnside CRP, have been recognised their outstanding contributions; the awards are so well deserved.”

Community rail education scheme, Platform, took top prize in the Empowering Diverse Groups category. 

The project aimed to improve access to the railways for young people with disabilities, creating bespoke packages to help remove barriers to travel.

Imogen Sackett, Interim Learning Development Manager at Platform,said:

“Platform are delighted to have won this award for empowering diverse groups. We are incredibly proud of the work we do to through our ‘This Mighty Traveller’ programme to empower young people with additional needs to confidently access the railway.

“It has been one of our greatest highlights to see young people overcoming barriers, growing in confidence and embracing rail travel as an option for them. Being recognised with this award is the cherry on top.” 

Another winner was Severnside CRP, which took top prize in the Best Community Engagement category for Carnival Train.

Heather Cullimore, Manager at Severnside CRP, said of the award:

“Carnival is an important part of cultural heritage for many of the communities in the Severnside CRP area.  We were very fortunate to be part of the special train taking people from Bristol and Bath to London to experience family day at Notting Hill; they certainly had a day to remember! 

“I am sure this will spur the team on to organise more events using the railway to help people attend cultural events which might feel otherwise out of reach due to financial and other constraints.” 

The Reading to Basingstoke CRP took home the top prize for the Small Projects Award top category.

The project aimed to provide surplus clothing to the homeless and needy of Reading and Petersfield, using spare space at Reading Station and the Community Rail Hub at Petersfield rail station. 

Lucy Lomax, Reading to Basingstoke Community Rail Officer said: 

“This is an example of what the word Community means. The support was overwhelming. Seeing the pleasure that the volunteers get in helping tirelessly; people arriving with their donations of such high quality, and the people turning up and taking away what they use. We hope that this becomes an annual event as we are asked when the next one is happening.”  

Other local CRP runners up included the Worcestershire CRP and the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership.

Community Rail Network Chief Executive, Jools Townsend, said:

“Our Community Rail Awards give deserved recognition to community rail partnerships, groups and volunteers across Britain and now beyond. This year’s ceremony in Swansea saw 430 guests from across the community rail movement and transport sector celebrating community rail’s role building stronger, fairer, greener communities, served and connected by their railways and wider sustainable transport network. It was fantastic to have our first winners from outside Britain this year.

“Our congratulations go to all our winners, and thanks to everyone who supports and champions community rail across the rail and transport field, helping the movement to go from strength to strength.”

Contact Information

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

Great Western Railway

0845 410 4444

Notes to editors

First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: