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New funding for the Academy - August 2017

Fantastic news just in for the Heritage Skills Training Academy, with the announcement that the Hendy and Pendle Charitable Trust has agreed to our request for a contribution of £9,500 towards training 19-year-old George Brogan. Our photograph shows George, who recently began his latest placement in Carriage & Wagon Mechanical in Kidderminster, with one of the Trust’s founders, Sir Peter Hendy CBE. Commenting on the grant, Sir Peter said:

“Sue Pendle and I are extremely enthusiastic about helping to fund training for a heritage railway engineering apprentice, and we’re looking forward to regular progress reports on how George and the other apprentices are getting on.”

Sir Peter is the Chairman of Network Rail and the former Commissioner of Transport for London. Funding the Academy is a key project for the SVR Charitable Trust, and we currently provide 96% of its costs. 

(Photo credit: Bob Sweet)

A gleaming new roof for 24105 - August 2017

Charitable Trust-owned coach 24105 has just received a brand new roof, courtesy of volunteers and staff at Kidderminster Carriage & Wagon.  The team applied the last of four coats of paint on Monday, after re-canvassing the roof. It’s all part of a major overhaul programme for the Gresley-designed teak carriage, as paint shop supervisor (and Charitable Trust chairman) Hugh McQuade explains:

“We use bitumen paint rather than gloss because it can stretch and shrink with the frequent British temperature changes. The white colour shows up any nicks or cracks, making them easier to detect and monitor. Traditionally, the LNER would have used white lead paint. I suspect using white rather than a more sensible grey was more of an image thing than anything else. They’d be keen to outdo rival railway companies, with the smartest presentation for coaches that they could muster!”

Whilst the roof canvas itself should last for up to 40 years, C&W will apply a fresh coat of white paint to each of the Gresley carriage roofs once every five years. Our photograph shows apprentice Emma Harrison finishing off the final coat on 24105 with Paul Brunet, who is over from his engineering firm in France on work experience.

(Photo credit: Richard Herington)

‘Peep’ event proved a fundraising success - July 2017

July’s ‘Peep Behind the Scenes’ event was a great opportunity for visitors to discover the dedication and hard work that goes into keeping the SVR running. It was also an effective fundraiser; for the first time, proceeds from the sale of event wristbands came to the Charitable Trust and we raised more than £2,500. There were also direct donations made to individual restoration projects by visitors. Attractions included Kidderminster Carriage Works, the Diesel Depot, Wickham Trolley rides, Bridgnorth Motive Power Depot, a demonstration goods train and various signal boxes, as well as restoration projects including various carriages, the Toad brake van, and locomotive Hagley Hall.

Encouraging SVR visitors to ‘give a little extra’ -July 2017

The Railway is now asking people who make an online transaction, such as booking tickets or renewing Membership, whether they would like to donate to the Charitable Trust at the same time, and many choose to do so. Not only does this bring in more than £400 each month for the Trust, but it also gives us the chance to engage with a new group of people and tell them about the importance of funding the SVR’s long-term future. Together with the donation envelopes that TTIs (travelling ticket inspectors) distribute on the trains, and the collection pots we’ve placed around the Railway, we’re getting out the message that the SVR needs financial support above and beyond the price of travel tickets, to guarantee its long-term survival.

We did it! With your support, we've hit the £1 million jackpot! - June 2017

The Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust has met the £1 million fundraising challenge set by the Heritage Lottery Fund. HLF pledged to match every pound donated to our endowment Future Fund, to reach a total of £1 million. 

The offer was only open until the end of June, but well over a month ahead of the deadline, we received the final and much-anticipated donation that takes the amount raised to the £1million mark.  

A £400 cheque from SVR supporter Richard Hill tipped the scales; after Gift Aid and HLF match funding, Richard’s donation was boosted to £1,000 for the appeal. Richard, who lives in Bewdley, Worcestershire, has been a volunteer and fundraiser at the SVR for 24 years. He says the long-term aim of the appeal attracted his interest: 

“I’m very happy that my money, along with the other donations, is going to be invested in the Charitable Trust’s endowment Future Fund. It will generate income to support all kinds of restoration projects. I see this as helping to secure a viable future for the Railway, and I like the forward thinking behind it. I really believe that since it was established in 2012, the SVR Charitable Trust has been transforming fundraising on the Railway.” 

Re-acting to the achievement, Chairman Hugh McQuade says: 

“We are delighted with this achievement, and have been inspired by the passion and generosity of our supporters. Thanks to the opportunity HLF has given us, we’ve kick-started our endowment Future Fund. With the first £1 million in place, we’re now in a position to make a real commitment to the future of the Railway, to help fund the essential maintenance and restoration work on its rolling stock and infrastructure in the years to come.” 

There have been thousands of donations to the appeal since it began in 2014. Some people signed up to give a regular amount on a monthly basis, others chose more unusual ways; one group of friends handed over the remains of their beer kitty after a day out on the Railway, and another supporter raised money by making and selling a valuable model locomotive. 

Although the first £1 million is now secured, as Hugh McQuade explains, that’s only the beginning: 

“Our ultimate goal is to raise £10 million for the endowment Future Fund, as we believe that would produce enough income to alleviate worries over the Railway’s future. Although the HLF match funding has now reached its limit, we can still claim 25% extra Gift Aid on donations, and I encourage people to continue to donate to the SVR’s future wellbeing.” 

Thank you to everyone who donated to our £1 million appeal

The region’s finest were racing to support the Severn Valley Railway - June 2017

On 14th June more than 200 of Worcestershire’s finest gathered in the glorious summer sunshine for the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust’s annual Worcester Race Day.  Many of the Trust’s corporate partners were represented, including Thursfields Solicitors who were the main event sponsors, and Allelys Heavy Haulage who sponsored the champagne drinks reception.

And to bring a little SVR magic to the occasion, guests were welcomed by uniformed ticket inspectors and invited to be seated for lunch by a railway whistle!

As well as the thrill of the racing, guests were also able to bid on a range of auction promises, kindly given by the Railway’s supporters, including a luxury London break donated by Great Little Breaks.

We raised an impressive total of £23,000 from the day, which will sponsor an apprentice in the Railway’s Heritage Skills Training Academy.

As Chair of the Trust’s Worcestershire Fundraising Committee, Handelsbanken Stourbridge Branch Manager, Richard Mander kindly organised the day.

To see all the day’s photos please look on our Facebook page.

To be part of 2018's event, please call Coralie Hudson on 01562 757940, or email coralie.hudson@svrtrust.org.uk

Making the SVR more accessible to all - June 2017

We’ve been trying out new, lightweight wheelchair ramps, and have ordered a full set so that each of our wheelchair-accessible coaches will carry its own. This means wheelchair users can get on and off trains at every stop along the line, including Country Park Halt and Northwood Halt.
It’s a small part of a much larger SVR Charitable Trust project to improve wheelchair facilities on our trains, part-funded by a £75,000 grant from the Department for Transport. We’re converting two coaches for wheelchair users, one of which will become a dining coach with an innovative zig-zag layout for maximum flexibility. Watch this space for more updates on this exciting project.

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