Bentham Line Rail project gets national acclaim

Jools Townsend, the CRP team with Northern and other partners receiving the award at Telford. Photograph courtesy of Paul Bigland.
Jools Townsend, the CRP team with Northern and other partners receiving the award at Telford. Photograph courtesy of Paul Bigland.

A dementia project on The Bentham Line has won national recognition.

The Bentham Line (Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership) was awarded first prize in the ‘Influencing Positive Change’ category for their extensive ‘Dementia and Community Rail’ project at the fifteenth annual National Community Rail Awards.

The event was hosted by Jools Townsend, Chief Executive of ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) who said: “Our judges were bowled over by the winning project. They described it as an exemplary, ground-breaking project.

“Developed over several years, it tackles an issue of growing importance, in a sensitive, positive and empowering way, increasing opportunities for many people who are likely to otherwise be increasingly isolated.

“This is an inspirational project which has the potential to increase support and understanding towards some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

“It has not only delivered demonstrable impact for people living with dementia and their carers, but it has put their perspectives centre-stage, helping them to have a voice. The judges believe this project should be rolled out across our railways.”

Gerald Townson, chair of the Bentham Line said: “What an amazing time we hadat the Community Rail Awards 2019.

“We were delighted to receive first place in the ‘Influencing positive change’ category with our ‘Dementia and Community Rail’ project. I am overwhelmed by the praise and recognition for the partnership.

“It is gratifying that several years work by a resourceful and dedicated team of individuals has resulted in receiving this award.

“I am pleased that it was stated the project should be role out nationally.”

Rod Tickner, a co-founder of Dementia Friendly Keighley and vice chair of the partnership said: “The support of other organisations has been invaluable including the Alzheimer’s society, Forest of Bowland AONB, North Yorks County Council and ACoRP, as well as the continuing support from the rail industry.

“We are also linking up various dementia-friendly initiatives along the line from Leeds, Shipley, Keighley, Skipton, Bentham, Morecambe and Lancaster creating a 75-mile-long dementia-friendly corridor.

By this we are hopefully encouraging and helping the communities to develop and share ideas and best practice.”