News 21 October 2022

Young People’s Engineering Project Wins UK Community Rail Award

• Project that helped vulnerable young people given top award

• Judges impressed with how scheme led to participants pursuing engineering as a career choice

• Two other Derwent Valley Line initiatives also recognised

A project run by Engineered Learning, developed in conjunction with Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership and East Midlands Railway, which helped young people learn engineering skills has won a national award.

The project, entitled ‘Turning around vulnerable young lives through engineering’, won the top prize in the Involving Children and Young People category at this year’s Community Rail Network’s Community Rail Awards.

The UK-wide awards recognise the hard work of everybody involved in community rail – including volunteers, train operators and community groups.

The project was delivered by Engineered Learning – an organisation that specialises in educating vulnerable young people – provided the participants with the opportunity to take part in a range of activities.

As well as creating a new arch for Duffield station and learning welding and fabricating skills through Engineered Learning, they also took part in team building exercises, a rail safety talk, a tour of Derby station and undertook a personal development and careers advice session – giving the students an insight into potential future industry opportunities.

Jools Townsend, Chief Executive at the Community Rail Network, said: “Our congratulations go to the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership for its fantastic initiative bringing together a group of young people not in education, employment or training and giving them valuable work experience.

“Judges noted the benefits experienced by the young people involved, not only creating a well-engineered piece of artwork but gaining useful qualifications and which led to some of the group going back into education and pursuing engineering as a career choice.”

Trevor Ainsworth, Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership Chair, said: “I am immensely proud of being involved in this project and what it has achieved. These young people were at a crossroads in their life and for some, the completion of it has positively changed their direction. Three of them have now gained places in education or employment within the wider engineering sphere.  Not only have they succeeded in that, but they have also designed and manufactured a piece of lasting art, that is the gateway to Duffield station.”

Donna Adams, Community Engagement Manager at East Midlands Railway, said: “I could not be prouder that this project has been recognised.  It is a great example of how when passionate people collaborate and work hard they can make a real difference to their community and to people’s lives.”

Dan Read, Managing Director of Engineered Learning, said: “This project helped to raise the aspirations of some of our most vulnerable young people. I think it’s fair to say that the social and economic impact of this project will be experienced by the local community at least for the foreseeable future. Our huge thanks go to our partners for helping to make this massive difference to the lives of our young people.”

The project has been funded by Community Rail Network, Derbyshire Police & Crime Commissioners Fund, Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership, East Midlands Railway and the Open Gate Trust.

Find out more about the ‘Turning around vulnerable young lives through engineering’ project  in this short video.

The Story of the Duffield Arch

Other Derwent Valley Line projects that received recognition by the Community Rail Network judges included our work to Promote a Return to Rail Travel on the Derwent Valley and the work of Ambergate Station Adopters.

Tourism and Leisure award – Promote a Return to Rail Travel on the Derwent Valley

The Community Rail Partnership were awarded Third place – Tourism and Leisure award for Promoting post covid return to Rail travel, walks and attractions.  This award recognised our varied marketing initiatives developed to promote a post pandemic return to rail travel on the Derwent Valley Line. These included new website, logo, branded platform signs, digital displays and complementary marketing literature providing consistent station information welcome posters and promotional material, with links to drive user traffic to the website.

Station Friends and Adopters at the Heart of Communities – Ambergate Station Adopters

Ambergate Station Adopters were shortlisted from over 250 entries in the Station Friends and Adopters at the Heart of Communities award.

During the COVID pandemic, the station group helped bring the local community together and since August 2020, the group threw themselves in with gusto to make Ambergate station a special place. Spectacular displays of sunflowers and 24 planters adorn the station platform and up cycled, artwork and bird boxes have been created and a shrub embankment maintained and used to celebrate events during the year including Halloween and Remembrance.  True bonds of friendship have formed providing a real feeling of community around the station for which the group is very proud.

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