Rail group gains influential backer
Political and business heavyweight Lord Digby Jones has given his backing to a new voluntary community group supporting railway stations on the Stratford to Birmingham ‘Shakespeare Line’.
Lord Jones, a former director general of the Confederation of British Industry and Minister of State for Trade and Investment, has become patron of the Friends of the Shakespeare Line Community Station Partnership (CSP).
Formed during the first lockdown, volunteers were recruited to enable each of the 18 stations along the route to be adopted by their communities.
The CSP aims to secure funding, manage bulk purchasing and pool ideas from the communities so that the adopters at each station can concentrate on enhancing the environment at their stations.
Lord Jones added: “I am delighted to be associated with the Friends of the Shakespeare Line and share their vision that this nation’s local communities will sow the seeds of growth for the rail industry.
“With the vibrancy, innovation, and enterprise from a diverse and accomplished group of volunteers, I look forward to seeing the Friends of the Shakespeare Line flourish in 2021 and beyond.”
He added: “The whole idea, its implementation and its hoped-for consequences are to be applauded.”
Fraser Pithie, treasurer of the group, said: “What the CSP is all about is making life easier for the actual volunteers. It was formed so that the station adopters do not have to navigate bureaucracy or find their own funds to support their stations and communities. We are delighted that Lord Jones has become our patron, and we look forward to this well-respected champion of business success being our figurehead and supporting our community.”
The group has worked hard during the pandemic and secured funding to support the volunteers and bring their visions to life at their local stations.