The West Somerset Railway has been awarded a grant from the HPC Community Fund. The Fund is in place to help address and mitigate against intangible and residual community impacts deriving from the construction of Hinkley Point C.
The successful WSR application, led by the West Somerset Railway Association with the full support and involvement of the West Somerset Railway PLC and other members of the WSR Family will enable the railway to increase its engagement with local communities, individuals, organisations and agencies to extend its reach to a wider, more diverse community base. A range of activities have been developed including volunteering opportunities and training & work experience which are all designed to facilitate personal well-being, community cohesion and the training/upskilling of people to help the economic stability for West Somerset and the wider areas surrounding the HPC build.
The programme will also reach out to attract new volunteers and stakeholders from the wider and more diverse population which HPC brings and it will help to facilitate their integration into the community as the populations of Somerset Towns and Villages develop and change during the construction of HPC. In addition to its core purpose this award will also allow the WSR to build and develop strategic partnerships with organisations, agencies and businesses in order to allow it to work much closer with others who have similar objectives. This in turn will help the WSR in its remit as a large and important not for profit community project to continue and expand as a place people can come to experience many different activities (not all related to railways), as an educational, heritage and leisure attraction and a large local employer which currently generates a secondary spend within its surrounding community in the region of £9 million per annum.
The award for £96,000 over two years includes the employment of a dedicated WSR Community Engagement Officer. This person will develop new relationships and deliver activities designed to open up the new opportunities for existing communities, new HPC workers and others to meet, integrate and develop interests and pastimes that bind them together.
WSR PLC Chairman Jonathan Jones-Pratt said “This is an exciting new dawn for the Railway of which demonstrates how important the WSR is to our stakeholders through the West Somerset Community. I wish to thank and congratulate the WSRA on the hard work that has led to our successful HPCF bid submission and we look forward to creating a legacy for the future as we work closely with our communities along our beautiful line.”
WSRA Chairman Paul Whitehouse said “As the support charity for the West Somerset Railway we are thrilled to have been selected to deliver this project which will be of great benefit to individuals, the West Somerset Community, and the railway.”
Published by the West Somerset Railway Association, The Railway Station, Bishops Lydeard, Taunton, TA4 3BX, Company Limited by Guarantee No. 296 8284. Registered Charity No. 1041901