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ScotRail in the Community – Member Profile for March 2021 newsletter

Published 25 March 2021 by ScotRail

Since 2005, ScotRail has been partnering with community groups and charities all over Scotland to rejuvenate and transform many of our railway stations.

There are more than 1200 volunteers contributing to their local communities in a variety of different activities and projects – from community classes to station adopters.

Our ‘adopt a station’ volunteering programme has seen over 260 stations get a makeover and reclaim their traditional role as a centre point of the community and a source of real local pride.

One of our partners, Phoenix Futures Scotland, who deliver drug and alcohol recovery services, is involved in eight station regeneration projects across the country.

In 2020, just before the first national lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Phoenix’s Scottish Residential Service ‘adopted’ Anniesland station in the north of Glasgow, in order to refashion Anniesland’s garden area.

It’s an ambitious project made all the more challenging due to COVID-19 restrictions, which meant the volunteers were not able to actually visit the station between March and September.

However, plans were laid, seeds and bulbs were grown and when the rules were relaxed in September, the work began.

Over the space of a few months, trees and flowers have been planted in the existing garden areas to promote a biodiverse habitat ideal for insects and other wildlife. And, the volunteers have been showing off not only their green fingers, but also their commitment to a green environment by using recycled materials where possible.

It’s also hoped that in time, the planters containing flowers, shrubs and trees will become carbon capture gardens which will pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil or woody stems. Anniesland will be one of the first locations to have these planters installed.

One of the great benefits of this partnership between ScotRail and Phoenix is the chance it gives the charity’s residents to learn about the environment and develop new skills they can take forward when they leave the residential unit.

James, Phoenix resident, said:

“I really enjoy giving something back to the community – being a part of Phoenix and Adopt A Station has enabled me to do that. The work we are doing is fun too and benefits everyone.

“I feel as though my mental health has really improved and recovery through nature has helped me with this. It’s nice to be in the fresh air, working as a team and I feel like I’m making a difference.”

Danny, who’s been a resident with Phoenix, said:

“I loved helping at Anniesland. Before lockdown we were making strides in clearing the area ready for planters. I can’t wait to get back out and help again.

“As well as being out on site at the stations we’ve also been learning about the environment, how we can all work together to look after the planet.

“Things like recycling food tins and making them into planters in the garden and growing our own veg.

“It’s been fab to see what I planted as a seed now being eaten by the community… gives me a sense of pride and achievement. It’s really helped with my confidence and recovery.”

Tracy Stevenson, ScotRail Community Development Executive, said:

“At ScotRail, we are committed to supporting the diverse communities we serve.

“That’s why this partnership with Phoenix Scotland is so beneficial, by encouraging people who are recovering from addiction and helping to support their recovery we are challenging the stigma associated with addiction.

“By taking part, Phoenix residents are participating in their own community, growing their confidence and learning new skills enabling opportunities for future employment.

“We look forward to many years of helping local people at a time when they are at their most vulnerable, and we are delighted to be doing that with Phoenix Scotland.”