The Heart of England partnership was founded in 2019 and is formed of 10 principal partners and funders:
- Coventry City Council
- Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
- Stratford-on-Avon District Council
- Warwickshire County Council
- Warwick District Council
- Avanti West Coast
- Chiltern Railways
- West Midlands Railways
- West Midlands Rail Executive
Network Rail and the Community Rail Network support the work of the Partnership and there is currently one part-time CRP Officer for the area, who is hosted by Warwickshire County Council.
The Partnership covers 36 stations over three train lines and serves a diverse range of stations, from rural request stops to larger urban stations. Visit the 'Our Stations' page to discover the stations we serve.
Community Rail is about integrating stations into their communities and finding out how the railways can best socially and economically support the areas they serve. Projects covered can be anything from improving station environment through finding station adopters and commissioning art at stations, to finding creative ways to help overcome barriers that people may have to travelling on the train. Details of our projects can be found on our Community Projects Page. Community Rail demonstrates the difference that can be made when TOCs, local authorities, Rail User Groups and other stakeholders work together to respond to the needs of their communities. There are now over 70 CRPs in the country with that number increasing as the benefits of community rail are being more widely acknowledged.
In 2019, Community Rail Network, who is the organisation that work with the DfT to support CRPs and station adoption groups, produced a report on the value of community rail. The full report can be read on the website using the link below, but some of the estimates they've highlighted are that, on average a year 8,500 volunteers give 390,000 hours to community rail. This is calculated to be worth £5.6m annually in terms of labour contribution and up to £27.6m in social value to the volunteers themselves.
All CRPs follow the four pillars of Community Rail:
- Providing a voice for the community
- Promoting sustainable healthy and accessible travel
- Bringing communities together and supporting diversity and inclusion
- Support social and economic development