Every year, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships organises a major competition to reward the best ideas and actions at stations throughout the UK. From simply tidying the station, through work with dementia sufferers, to major refurbishment of buildings, voluntary groups like the Friends of Handforth Station (FoHS) are inspiring local people, increasing station usage and building the community.

The Crewe to Manchester train line boasts several very active station groups; three of which (including FoHS) were shortlisted for prizes to be awarded at the annual dinner, this year at Telford on 3rd October.

FoHS were shortlisted for 3 prizes : for their new “Archways” structures, for their regular “Art in A Box” displays; they won the national 2nd prize for “Influencing Positive Change”. This award recognises the huge effort made by FoHS to get so many people and groups together and push for step-free access to the station platforms.

Andrew Backhouse, Chair of FoHS, said:

“Over the past 20+ years, we have worked very hard to make our station more attractive and visible, to get people using trains rather than cars, and to campaign for step-free access. It was great to be acknowledged for the work we have done to secure funding for the new station access.”

Steve Forde, Steve Forde, Community Rail Officer for The Crewe to Manchester Community Rail Partnership, added:

“I’m thrilled at the success of the Friends of Handforth Station group; their long-standing campaign for step-free access is a great example of what can be achieved with persistence and determination. Their innovative art projects such as “Art in A Box” do much to help the station provide a welcoming atmosphere and to help put the station at the centre of the community. I look forward to working with them on even more inspirational projects.”

• Presentation of the award to FoHS from ACoRP. L to R Jools Townsend (CEO, ACoRP), Hugh Everett (FoHS), Jo Everett (FoHS), Andrew Backhouse (Chair, FoHS), Mike Forbes (President, FoHS), Becky Styles (Arriva Northern), Jenny Barnes (FoHS), Jan Chaudhry van der Welde (West Midlands Trains)