In September 2018, Kent CRP and Sheppey College met to discussed a variety of ways in which they could work together to provide opportunities for the students to become involved in a number of Community Projects that would provide them with valuable life skills and work experience as well as helping improve all five stations along the SwaleRail Line. As a result 3 projects were set up working with different groups of students to support their course work. This involved working with IT, Business and Construction students.
During the month of October, Kent CRP carried out 6 presentations to 209 students and tutors from the college. This introduced a number of ideas which the students could become involved in. This also included a briefing on how to stay safe around the stations in preparation for the forthcoming station visits.
November 2018 and 2019 – Travel Training and Station Visits
During a week in November, groups of students have been taken on the train to visit each of the stations on the SwaleRail Line. Students were made aware of the British Transport Police number 61016, how to report concerns and were to find helpful information. Students were tasked with looking at each station and identifying improvements that they could make to encourage passengers to use the SwaleRail Line.
Due to the success of the project, in September 2019, Landscaping and Travel and Tourism Students were introduced to the project as well and visited the stations to come up with ideas for further station improvements.
The IT students identified that one of the main problems they noticed at the stations was the lack of information available regarding what there was to do nearby or places to visit. As a result the students decided that they would create a promotional video of the area and a website that would provide this information. Click SwaleRail to visit the website or on the image.This information is accessible to passengers who can scan the QR code on the information poster and then visit the website.
The students have also produced a fantastic video to help promote tourism to the area and places that people can visit if they are stopping at any of our local stations.
Level 1 IT Students wanted to create some Art work to help develop their photo editing skills. They decided to take photos of the trains at the local station and using photo editing techniques create some fantastic Pop-Art.
The Business students wanted to find out much more about what the passengers who used the Swale Rail Line thought about each of the stations. They designed their own survey to collate data which could be used to help plan future developments at the stations. This was fed back to Kent CRP and Southeastern.
Students also designed a range of raising awareness posters to inform the passengers about key issues. These included the themes of Equality, Mental Health, Addiction and Train Etiquette.
In July 2019, the construction students used their carpentry skills to create bird nesting boxes for Queenborough Station.
In October 2019 based on the feedback from the passenger surveys carried out by the Business students, the Level 2 and Level 3 students created two benches and planters made from sleepers and positioned these on Platform 2 at Queenborough Station.
The landscaping and multi-trade students identified a number of potential sites where there were overgrown areas or places were landscaping projects could take place. The front of Queenborough Station was identified as an area that needed a face lift so in July 2019, and the multi-trade students put their skills to the test to help plant up wellies and create flower beds to add a splash of colour to the station.
In October 2019, the landscapers worked with the Minster on Sea Rotary Club to plant 2000 purple crocus bulbs in a roundel at to help raise awareness of the eradication of the Polio virus. By the end of February 2020 the crocuses had bloomed and brightened up the mound at the entrance to Queenborough station.
One of the main aims of this project is to provide students with the opportunity to showcase their work at and around stations rather than just being completed as part of their course work.
Linking the college work in with the Swale Rail Project allows students to create their work with their community in mind and everything they do will have an impact on their community. This will also help them build up a portfolio of their work that they can use when looking for future employment.
The project has also led to some students carrying out various work experience tasks and placements and providing them with opportunities to develop their skills further and gaining valuable work experience.This took place at Sittingbourne Station.
At our Stakeholders Meeting in November 2019. Students from Sheppey College showcased their wonderful work they have been doing at our stations. They were also officially present with their station adoption certificates from Southeastern for all five stations on the SwaleRail Line.
Their achievements have also been recognised locally when they were presented with the Kent Under 18s Volunteer Team of the Year Award.