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 Swale Rail Line. Subsequently, 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.
The project was recognised in the Community Rail Awards 2020 and achieved First Place in the Involving Children and Young People Category. In 2021, all departments at Sheppey College will now engage in the project during their Community Weeks.
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.
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.
During 2020/21, while everyone was in lockdown, Sheppey College planned and prepared planter for Sittingbourne Station. As soon as the restrictions were lifted the planters were installed and then planted up by the landscaping team in May 2021.
In March 2022, the construction and landscaping departments were able to undertake the Kemsley Project, which had been planned to take place back in March 2020, just before lockdown. The five stations along the Swale Rail Line are represented by different coloured plants. Sheerness blue, Queenborough yellow, Kemsley red and Sittingbourne white. Swale Halt is depicted by a large model of the Kingsferry Bridge.
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.
The Health and Social Care department were interested in finding out more about accessibility at stations. In April 2021, they interviewed Ruth from the Southeastern Ticket Office at Sheerness to find out about ways to save money when travelling by train and the availability of travel cards and group savings. Members of the public were also interviewed about their opinions on train travel. This was filmed and made into a video, with the support of Phoebe (a student) from the IT department.
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.
Their achievements have also been recognised locally when they were presented with the Kent Under 18s Volunteer Team of the Year Award.