Annual Stakeholder Event 2024

Chris Fribbins, Therese Hammond and Gary Outram seated at the top table in Maidstone Town Hall's council chamber. Chris is delivering his opening remarks to the audience

Our event began with our stakeholders, partners and volunteers meeting at Maidstone West station for a trip north along our Medway Valley Line.

 

As our train made its way north, Gary shared details of Kent Community Rail Partnership’s work both past and present at each of the stations that we passed through. The partnership has been working actively to help community rail to flourish along the Medway Valley Line for over 18 years, there was a lot to share.

 

Upon reaching Strood we took a tour of the subway murals, co-created with students from Strood Academy in 2021. They imagined the subway as a gateway connecting the people of Strood to the places they can visit by rail and those arriving with the attractions that Strood has to offer.

 

Our tour also took in two of last year’s projects supported by Medway Council. Bus stop waymarking, developed to guide people from Medway stations on our lines to local bus services, and the site of a successful community litter pick alongside the station approach road which has future potential to be sown with wild flowers.

 

The return trip to Maidstone West saw Gary summarise the partnership’s actvities on the line south of Maidstone, listing many more successful community engagement events. Upon arrival we said farewell to our guests and began preparation for an afternoon of celebrations.

The afternoon saw us gather in Maidstone Town Hall for presentations summarising our achievements over the previous year and setting out our ambitious Action Plan for 2024/25.

 

Chris Fribbins went on to present certificates of appreciation to our dedicated volunteers, in recognition of the work they do to connect people and communities with their local stations and promote the benefits that rail travel can bring to everyone. 

Steve White presented our Volunteer of the Year Award to Dominic Noades for his involvement in a phenomenal number of our projects and advocacy for Community Rail across Kent, a much deserved award.

 

Dominic Noades receives the Mike Fitzgerald shield for Volunteer of the Year 2023/24 Kent Community Rail Partnership. The shield is awarded by Steve White, managing director of Southeastern. Pictured are Therese Hammond, Dominic Noades, Steve White, Gary Outram and Chris Fribbins

After a break for light refreshments we moved on to our prestigious “Open Platform” question and answer session.

 

Our panel consisted of Chris Fribbins, Chair of Kent CRP; Steve White, Managing Director of Southeastern, David Davidson, Route Director Kent for Network Rail; Clare Dowling, Programme Manager for Behaviour Change and Engagement at Sustrans South; and Rob Hattersley, Director of Support and Development at Community Rail Network. 

Answers to questions submitted in advance of the meeting often prompted follow up questions from the floor. Our panelists offered to continue discussions with members over some of the more specific points raised.

Chris closed the event by thanking everyone who contributes to Kent CRP for their support and dedication.

 

The success of Kent Community Rail Partnership results from the deication, commitment and professionalism of its Officers, partners, supporters and volunteers. We could not do it without you.

We would like to add our thanks to our panelists for taking part, and Maidstone Borough Council for allowing us the use of their magnificent Town Hall as the venue for our celebrations. 

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