CrossCountry's community engagement fund supported Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) to launch Go Gilsland, a new on demand service to connect the people of Gilsland to local railway stations and visitor attractions.
The social enterprise were able to purchase a new 'G-Gaxy' electric car which has capacity for four passengers with luggage will provide a much needed lifeline for the village.
The launch took place at Gilsland Primary School on Wednesday 11th September 2019, where Lady Jane Gibson, Chair of Hadrian’s Wall Partnership, pulled the ribbon with the children to unveil the new resource for the community.
The project aims to connect the community of Gilsland with the national rail network and to connect visitors (be they tourists or on business) arriving by train, with both the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall and Gilsland. The area has considerable tourism potential and it is hoped that this new service will assist public transport users to connect with existing bus services and the Tyne Valley Railway Line as well as visiting the numerous attractions in the area. Volunteer drivers for the car have been recruited and trained. The scheme works by users booking the car via a telephone number 07399993979.
TVCRP used CrossCountry's Socially Enterprising Toolkit to develop the project, using the framework to create a strong business case.
A range of sponsors contributed to the project, including Northumberland National Park, The Joicey Trust, The Campaign to Open Gilsland Station, Gilsland Church of England School, The National Lottery, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership and CrossCountry.
Fiona Forsythe, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership Officer said, ‘We were delighted to be able to work with Go Gilsland and CrossCountry to secure funding for this project. Through reading a toolkit which had been sponsored by Cross Country on The Socially Enterprising Railway we realised that we too could be ‘socially enterprising’ and happily support the project.’
Alex Bray, Stakeholder Liaison Manager at CrossCountry, commented ‘We are delighted to see that Tyne Valley Community Railway Partnership has been able to use the Socially Enterprising Toolkit to develop an idea that will bring the railway closer to the heart of the communities they serve. The use of the car will be a great incentive to make visiting Gilsland more accessible and deliver a range of social and economic benefits to the area.’
Launch Day was a community event with local school children having the opportunity to develop their understanding of the technology behind electric cars through exploring the “G-Gaxy” with Tim Coombe of Sustainable Brampton (& Beyond) and throughout the coming term. The children sold some of their artwork earlier in the year to contribute to the project.