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We've been shortlisted for two top rail industry awards!

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

A montage of our projects at Tolworth Railway Station

Our programme to completely reimagine and transform part of Tolworth Railway Station into an exciting and vibrant community space has been shortlisted for two national rail industry awards.

We're all thrilled to be through to the finals for both the Outstanding Contribution to Society category at the National Rail Industry Awards

Plus, we're also shortlisted for the Best Community Engagement Project at this year’s National Community Rail Awards, for Celebrate 72 / Ziggy Returns!

The National Rail Award nomination recognises how The Community Brain team and our amazing volunteers have transformed a former shop unit at Tolworth Station, and the area surrounding the site, into a vital community kitchen and meeting space that benefits residents, charities, schools, community groups and local entrepreneurs.

While outside, the station make-over continues with an innovative community garden – complete with a large children’s sandpit – and a wildlife area. It’s also now home to the plants and instruments that featured in The Community Brain’s show garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival and the Crop Ups, mobile allotment project that featured at the 2021 festival.

Even the station’s forecourt car park has experienced The Community Brain’s creative touch, having been transformed on separate occasions into a live music venue and an open-air cinema!

The National Community Rail Award nomination, meanwhile, is specifically to recognise our pioneering Celebrate 72: Ziggy Returns project, which took place in February. This event marked 50 years since David Bowie first performed as Ziggy Stardust at the former Toby Jug pub, in Tolworth – a stone’s throw from the station.

Partnering with South Western Rail, Network Rail and other local businesses, this event saw more than 100 people take part in the first ever silent disco at London Waterloo station, and enjoy a special train ride featuring on-board live performances and history talks, before arriving at Tolworth Station to join more people for a Bowie-themed festival on

the station’s forecourt.

Ziggy Returns also included a David Bowie-themed battle of the bands for young aspiring musicians. Plus, a new street art mural to celebrate Ziggy Stardust and the area’s music connections was unveiled in a nearby pedestrian underpass, used frequently by rail passengers (see image right).

Ziggy Stardust street art mural

As well as being great fun for everyone involved, The Community Brain’s activities at Tolworth Station have been shown to have encouraged more people to use the station. “It’s great to have our work recognised and be in running for not one, but two rail industry top awards -- It shows we must be doing something right,” explains Robin Hutchinson MBE, founder and director of The Community Brain.

“Reimagining Tolworth Railway Station to benefit its neighbours, coupled with events like Costa Del Tol, Ziggy Returns and our Triassic Tolworth celebrations, shows that with imagination, creativity, and support from residents, local businesses and rail operators, railway stations up and down the country have the potential to become vital community spaces.

“Regardless of whether we win, I hope that Baking Ideas and everything we’ve done at Tolworth Station will at least give others food for thought about what can be achieved”. Robin Hutchinson MBE, founder and director of The Community Brain

“Regardless of whether we win, I hope that Baking Ideas and everything we’ve done at Tolworth Station will at least give others food for thought about what can be achieved”.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network said: “Our Community Rail Awards showcase the amazing projects, initiatives and people across Britain, that make community rail. This year we’ve received over 230 submissions and as always, the standard of entries has been extremely high.

“We’re looking forward to joining our community rail colleagues and industry partners to celebrate their hard work, positivity, and dedication.”

Keep Your Fingers Crossed... We'll have to wait until Thursday 15 September to find out whether we've won the National Rail Award. Winners of the Community Rail Awards will be announced at a gala event in Manchester on Wednesday 5 October.


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