Buxton rail station volunteer group tipped to play vital role in economic recovery from pandemic
A group of volunteers who work to improve a key gateway for visitors to Buxton has been tipped to play a big role in the town’s recovery from the pandemic.
The Friends of Buxton Station were singled out for praise in a recent report from the national Community Rail Network on the achievements of groups across the Midlands.
In particular, the authors picked up on the ‘rail retail trail’ which the group launched as a way to promote the small and independent businesses hit hardest by the crisis.
Network chief executive Jools Townsend said: “As we start to rebuild from Covid, within the community rail movement, and across our railways, we will be redoubling efforts, to create confidence and togetherness, and help more people to get around by socially and environmentally responsible means.
“Community rail is all about communities and connectedness, and people working together locally to make things better for each other and our shared future – that couldn’t be more important right now.”
The retail trail adapted the group’s previous ale trail initiative, promoting local pubs and breweries.
Friends chairman Dave Carlisle said: “Our constitution focuses our voluntary work mostly upon Buxton station, but when lockdown effectively closed access to it for our volunteers, we shifted our attention to other areas where we could have a positive influence.
“We had intended to update our ale trail leaflet, but with pubs being shut down, there was no possibility, so we considered our best approach was to help local independent traders, those with special premises or retailers of unusual items. All of our work aims to make a positive difference to Buxton and its people, this is one aspect.”
While the station is much quieter than usual right now, the group is continuing its work and is hoping to make lasting changes based on the momentous shifts of the past year.
Dave said: “It is estimated that commuter numbers will be seriously altered by the changes in working practice but our work also encompasses leisure travellers.
“We want to welcome visitors to Buxton, show them what we have to offer and encourage them to make travel choices that consider environmental impacts. We will be working with others to promote cycling and walking to and from the station, and to use the train and car club instead of private motor vehicles.”
He added: “All of our work aims to make a positive difference to Buxton and its people and we will keep shifting our gaze towards the town itself and how we can help and positively influence our local community.
“This summer, we are heavily concentrating on raising awareness of the plight of the bilberry bumblebee, the High Peak’s special little pollinator living under the threat of extinction from the UK. We did some work last year to provide the bees’ favourite food in town and will be extending this awareness raising work along with the Fringe’s campaign to turn the town orange with flowers – orange is the predominant colour of the bilberry bee.”
For updates on the group’s work and ways to get involved, follow the Friends of Buxton Station (FoBS) Facebook page.