Conwy Valley and North West Wales Coast Railway Partnership Annual Report 2020/21
The past year has seen significant changes to the CRP in a number of ways. Our Community Rail Officer, Melanie Lawton, left after her successful tenure with the Conwy Valley having secured a position with Transport for Wales as their Community Rail Manager covering North and Mid Wales. Mel introduced many innovations in her time with us – not least in raising the profile of the CRP in social media and establishing firm links with the business and tourism sectors. We are pleased that Mel will still be very much a presence around our patch and we look forward to working with her in her new role.
Around the time of Mel’s departure, the CRP gave serious consideration to reviewing the hosting arrangements with Conwy County Borough Council. This was largely triggered by internal changes within the Council’s structure and the need for us to become more
community related in harmony with TfW’s vision that Community Rail should become less reliant on local authority systems and procedures which did not necessarily provide the degree of flexibility we needed in the future.
The CRP decided to engage with Creating Enterprise, a local community enterprise which is a subsidiary of the major registered social landlord in the area, Cartrefi Conwy. After due negotiations, the hosting was transferred to Creating Enterprise in September 2020. Our view is that the collaboration with Creating Enterprise is working well and has led to the refurbishment of disused accommodation at two of our stations to provide a drop-in centre and hot-desk facility and a social enterprise café. We are very grateful to Hugh Evans, TfW’s Head of Community Rail for all his support and guidance through the transfer process.
In succession to Mel, the CRP appointed Karen Williams, a project manager with Creating Enterprise, who has a successful background in community engagement across North Wales. Karen has settled in well despite the obvious restrictions imposed by the Covid19 virus which have reduced the ability to progress areas we wish to develop. A challenge for Karen has been the extension of the CVRP to include the section of line between Llandudno Junction and Holyhead. Going forward, we will engage with communities, particularly on Anglesey, to promote station adoption and local initiatives. In addition, we will need to amend our name and logo!
Philip C Evans JP FIoL
Chair, Conwy Valley Railway Partnership