Rail companies are opening up stations to local communities
- Working in partnership, staff from Network Rail (High Speed), HS1, Southeastern and Eurostar are focused on opening up stations to the local community.
- Local schools come to Ebbsfleet International to learn about safety, with sessions run in partnership with the British Transport Police.
- Working together staff support local and national charity organisations.
Danny Hawkins, born and bred in Kent, is the Network Rail (High Speed) Station Manager for Stratford and Ebbsfleet International.
Since becoming Station Manager, Danny, with the support of a staff of five Shift Station Managers and 15 Customer Service Assistants, has made it his mission to open up the station to the local community and make it a welcoming place for events and activities for young and old.
Working in partnership, staff from Network Rail (High Speed), HS1, Southeastern and Eurostar want to encourage the local community to take pride in the station and the surrounding area. Local schools come to Ebbsfleet International to learn about safety, with sessions run in partnership with the British Transport Police. Staff make a special effort to create an environment suitable for children with special needs.
For Christmas 2017, staff launched Lights of Life – a charity initiative to raise money for a local hospice charity, Ellenor, raising £700 in donations from commuters, staff and the wider community. At the same time, local schools were encouraged to bring their choirs to perform in the station as well as the Association of Grace Baptist Churches who conducted a carol service.
Staff at Ebbsfleet have lots of plans for the future. They are working with a Gravesend-based organisation The Gr@nd, a mental health charity, to create tailored activities and initiatives that improve the health of staff and the community. The team is also working with Edible Ebbsfleet to develop a small allotment in the station to promote healthy eating among the local community. Station staff already maintain Ebbsfleet’s planters on a voluntary basis.
Working with the Poppy Appeal is an important part of Ebbsfleet International’s annual programme of activity. In 2017, volunteers at the station raised more than £9,500 for the Royal British Legion.
Danny, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and HS1 are also working in partnership with a local creative artist to promote Northfleet Big Local, a group of residents who aim to make lasting changes to improve the local area and foster a sense of pride among the community. As part of this, local people will be encouraged to contribute artworks and knitted items to brighten up the station.
Ebbsfleet International also has a close relationship with Cherry Orchard Primary Academy, where HS1 recently donated £750 to purchase sports equipment for the children. The relationship is so entwined that the school is planning to name its houses after the HS1 International stations at St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford.