Heart of England Community Rail Partnership
The Heart of England partnership was founded in 2019 and is formed of 11 principal partners and funders, who are: Coventry City Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council, Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, West Midlands Railways, Vintage Trains and West Midlands Rail Executive. Network Rail also supports the work of the Partnership.
The Partnership covers 36 stations over 3 train lines operating between Birmingham, Coventry, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-Upon-Avon. It’s main function is to integrate stations into their communities and discover opportunities for ways in which the rail industry can support the communities they serve.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
We are part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Joint Suicide Prevention Multi-Agency Group. We work with different organisations to promote positive mental health and to tackle the issue of suicide on the railways.
One of our CRP aims is to identify areas that are high suicide risks and develop a programme for prevention that compliments the fantastic work that other groups such as the BTP and Network Rail do. We also run events with mental health charities to signpost our train users to local mental health services that are available to them.
What are your current priorities?
Coventry Acts of Kindness – We have partnered with the Kaleidoscope Plus Group to deliver the Coventry Acts of Kindness in the first 2 weeks of September. This project offers people passing through 3 high priority stations in Coventry a gift (from a local business) and also the chance to speak to a mental health professional
Station adoption – Our volunteers perform a vital role in our community. They are able to change the environment and feel of a station, which can make a positive difference on our passengers mindset. Station adoption also provides volunteers and communities with a focus and an opportunity to alleviate the isolation that many people feel.
Prevention programmes – We are developing an ongoing programme for prevention, combining educational opportunities, events at stations and collaboration with mental health charities.
What challenges are you currently facing?
COVID-19 has limited the amount of people who can be at stations and the types of events we can do. There are many people who also have understandable concerns about returning to stations and trains and there are those whose mental health issues will have been exacerbated by the pandemic.