South and South East in Bloom-

The Isle of Wight Community Rail Partnership wanted to make sure every station was really looking its best for the 150th year celebration happening later that year in August whilst giving young people a chance to be involved with their community’s station. The partnership therefore applied for funding from ACoRP small grants scheme, matched by South West Trains to run a competition in partnership with organisers from the South and South East in Bloom Competition for over 150 budding young gardeners in Primary Schools and youth groups along the Islands rail corridor.

Brading YC TrainSchools were given a budget and a theme and they were off, working with volunteers from the community and teachers to design, grow and plant up the best station garden local to their town. Competition was tough and it was a hard job for the judges last July to decide who was going to win. Every school, group and organisation, including Island Line staff did an amazing job which saw railway engines and carriages made and filled with an array of flowers to hanging baskets with the heritage red white and cream overflowing.

3Sandown Primary really went to town though and decorated the station with bunting and boards which had information on the project start to finish and photographs. They also met the judges on their tour of all the stations, with a song they’d practiced, which secured them overall first place.

The prize was a trip to London for all 35 children, teachers and volunteers organised by the Chairman of the Royal parks

Guild, Mike Fitt and the CRP with transport provided from Wightlink, South West Trains and a vintage Route Master personally loaned by Sir Peter Hendy,

Community Kids sandown

Commissioner of Transport for London. This took the children on a tour of Whitehall, Westminster Bridge, Trafalgar Square and Regent Street. The double decker then deposited the group at Hyde Park to then participate in workshops at the Royal Parks Foundation Education Centre where the group were able to learn basic compass reading, pirate boat and flag making and weather forecasting. After a lunch and the official presentation of the ‘IOW Stations in Bloom’ award by Peter Holman, Chairman of South and South East in Bloom, the whole group enjoyed goodie bags and a trip aboard Bluebeards Solarboat on the serpentine, which saw the day end in Kensington Gardens at the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, before the journey home which 3-2included a tube ride…..underground!

Entrants and prize winners as follows:


South & South East In Bloom

in association with

IOW Community Rail Partnership


Overall winner:                Sandown Station – The Bay C of E Primary School, Sandown

Highly Commended:      Lake Station – Broadlea Primary School, Lake

Brading Station – Brading Methodist Church and the Youth Club, Brading

St Johns Road and Ryde Pier Head Stations – Haylands Primary School, Ryde

Shanklin Station – St. Blasius Shanklin C of E Primary Academy, Shanklin

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

The project is hoped to be adopted by South and South East in Bloom as a yearly competition, which the CRP hope to secure financial support to do so.  In the meantime the project has engaged and continues to engage local schools and community groups to actively adopt and nurture their station environments making them look more attractive for regular commuters and visitors and attract more people to use the Islands Trains with a nicer environment.

Finally, a great outcome to this project was the start of ‘Community Kids’, which formed to take part in the competition and collected all the information in a scrap book in the run up to the judging. The book was seen by SWT Andy Naylor Head of Customer Experience on the trip up to London; both SWT and the CRP felt it could be used as a working book for all schools to share best practice whilst adopting their transport ‘hub’ be it a train or bus station or stop or indeed a ferry port; and thus the ‘Community Kids’ book idea was born.






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