Community schemes to bring disused rooms and buildings at two Southeastern stations back into public use have been recognised at a prestigious national awards ceremony.
The Railway Heritage Awards were held in Central London on Wednesday 6th December and saw schemes at Eynsford and Hollingbourne awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the Avanti West Coast Community Award and The Hendy & Pendle Trust Volunteers Award, respectively.
Overall, the Railway Heritage Awards received 50 entries from across all four nations of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland from community groups, private individuals, companies, public authorities and train operators.
The work at Hollingbourne has seen a derelict and abandoned building transformed into a new community café and hub which can be used year-round by local community groups and customers, alike.
The £130,000 project was primarily funded by Southeastern alongside £11,400 from Rail Heritage and support from the Kent Community Rail Partnership.
At Eynsford, the Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership led a project, with support from Southeastern, to provide accessible toilets and a waiting room in heritage colours and also included new interpretation boards containing local information and history.
In addition, the Best Overall award was given for the restoration of Folkestone Harbour Station.
Meanwhile, Southeastern sponsored the Commercial Restoration Award which was won by the Arch Company, Benedict O’Looney Architects and Frankham for the stunning restoration of the Findlater’s Corner at London Bridge Station.
Steve White, Managing Director at Southeastern, represented Southeastern at the ceremony and added:
“The Railway Heritage Awards recognise the best efforts to restore and conserve our historic railway infrastructure. With such a high level of entries, it was fantastic to see four projects on our network recognised, including our joint project with Community Rail Partnerships at Hollingbourne and Eynsford.”
Therese Hammond, Project Officer, Sustrans
“Kent Community Rail Partnership would like to thank Southeastern for making this project possible. The restoration of the derelict ticket office has provided the community of Hollingbourne with a much-needed community space and café in which to meet.
“The community hub is run solely by an enthusiastic, committed and highly skilled Community Interest Company (CIC) and they have already managed very successful events such as a heritage day, a Christmas fayre and cinema nights! Many more events are planned for the local and wider community and we look forward to welcoming you very soon!”