Members of a local Scout group gathered at Stechford station on London Midland’s Birmingham to Coventry route yesterday for the unveiling of a striking new photography collection, produced in celebration of the town’s diverse community.
Called ‘Faces of Stechford’, the community rail project was sponsored by London Midland working in partnership with local arts forum, Arts In The Yard. 80 members of the local community signed up with the 261st Birmingham St Edburgha’s (Yardley) Scouts to have their photographs taken.
The 17 Scouts, supported by their parents, leaders and professional local portrait photographer Ian Davies, got behind the camera to lead a series of portrait photography sessions for local people, both at Ian’s studio and outside Stechford station. Ian provided training in how to use a professional camera in a studio setting, as well as editing and selecting photos for the final ensemble, which was then all done by the Scouts. The result of the sessions is a unique and vibrant piece made up of three double royal portrait panels, featuring local people of a variety of ages and cultures, which is now on permanent display at the station
Faye Lambert, head of community rail at London Midland, commented: “A key objective of our community rail projects is to help people share skills through interaction with their local community to help make a difference to their station. Through this project, the Scouts and their leaders have learned about portrait photography and how to get the most out of a modern digital camera and their creative knowledge has thrived.
“Our sponsorship of this project through Arts in the Yard has welcomed the people of Stechford to become a big part of their local railway. These include the 261st Scout group, photographer Ian Davies, Shades of Black and local community campaigner Mrs Eunice McGhie-Belgrave MBE, Holy Trinity School and the community of Stechford. We would like to thank them for helping to build the foundation for many more community rail projects for Stechford station.
“’Faces of Stechford’ is also part of the local Stechford In Bloom project, and has been so well received that we plan to extend it to many more of our stations as a great way to link communities to the railway.”
Nicola Toms, artist and Project Manager at Arts In The Yard, said: “Our time spent working with all the groups, residents and business owners in Stechford as part of this project has been hugely rewarding and has also provided a big confidence boost to the Scouts. We have been overwhelmed with the response we have received from local people about the project, who were just thrilled to get involved and to have their portraits taken.”
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 70 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manages 150 stations and operates 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, GTR (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, five Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work. In 2017 London Midland was named as Britain's most improved train company by the Institute of Rail Operators and the UK's most improved organisation for customer service in the UKCSI survey.
In 2017 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Gold Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2014.