A local community group that supports Buxton railway station in Derbyshire has been recognised for their work and commitment at a prestigious national awards ceremony.

A local community group that supports Buxton railway station in Derbyshire has been recognised for their work and commitment at a prestigious national awards ceremony.

The Friends of Buxton Station, a well-established and respected volunteer organisation, fought off strong competition to be named joint winners of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail’ prize at the 17th national Community Rail Awards.

The group also won the ‘Station Friends and Adopters at the Heart of Communities’ award, took second place in the ‘Community Creative Projects and Station Arts’ category, and saw their chair, Dave Carlisle, pick up the award for ‘Outstanding Volunteer Contribution.’

In the last year and throughout the pandemic the group have continued to put the station at the heart of the community and helped to make it more than just a rail interchange.

Chair of the Group, Dave Carlisle, has led Friends of Buxton Station to success in projects ranging from the installation of a defibrillator housed in an old phone box at the station, to a host of wildlife and biodiversity schemes, including the creation of a Japanese Garden and a campaign to support Buxton’s rare and endangered Bilberry bumblebee. 

To support their community during the pandemic, Dave and the group produced the ‘Retail Rail Trail’ to encourage people to continue to use local businesses, and devised the ‘Mini-Saga Challenge’, a writing competition designed to promote positive mental health.

Friends of Buxton Station Chairman, Dave Carlisle said:

“Our community volunteers not only kept working during early covid-19 restrictions but stepped up and focused upon other areas where we could help. I’m so proud that our efforts have been recognised in this way and humbled that my role in making things happen was acknowledged.”

In June 2021, the group was honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award volunteers can receive in the UK, described as being the equivalent of an MBE for volunteers.

Jools Townsend, Chief Executive of Community Rail Network, said:

“The group’s continued leadership throughout the pandemic and beyond has been outstanding. They are the very essence of what community rail is all about, being innovative and creative, but grounded in the community they serve. They continue to share their enthusiasm and expertise, and we congratulate them on their achievements.” 

Northern supports over 20 Community Rail Partnerships and many more station adoption groups, and the breadth of projects and community engagement activity taking place were highlighted at this year’s awards ceremony. 

The awards showcased how groups supported their communities through the pandemic, are encouraging greater awareness of climate change and sustainable travel options.  Education and awareness of a range of societal issues including Hate Crime were among other projects recognised.

Chris Jackson, Northern’s Regional Director commented:

“Our community partners are the heartbeat of the railway and we’re extremely proud to work closely with them to deliver such a wide-ranging positive impact for the north of England.

“The Friends of Buxton station have always been extremely proactive, creative and engaging and I am delighted that their efforts and achievements have been recognised.

“I’m especially pleased for Dave Carlisle who has and continues to provide superb leadership for the group and his community. Well done all.”

Groups across Northern’s network either won or were placed in a total of 14 categories with winners representing stations across Cumbria, Derbyshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire.