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Rail colleagues prepare for mammoth 90-mile cycle ride to support The Prince’s Trust

Press release   •   Sep 27, 2019 11:31 BST

Govia Thameslink Railway colleagues have held many fundraising activities for The Prince's Trust already

Twenty-two Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) workers from Stevenage, Hitchin, Huntingdon, Royston, London and Croydon are hoping to raise over £5,000 for The Prince’s Trust after seeing first-hand how the organisation helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into work.

Those taking part in the charity’s Palace to Palace ride on October 6 include GTR Chief Executive Patrick Verwer, Stevenage Station Manager Marc Edwards, Huntingdon Revenue Control Officer Owen King, Royston Station Assistant Graham Barnes, King’s Cross Engineering Planning Specialist Paul Grayston and Internal Communications Advisor Sarah Awanah from Croydon.

The 90-mile ride will see them set off from Buckingham Palace, taking in Richmond Park and the Surrey countryside before reaching their destination, Windsor Castle.

Last year, a GTR team cycled 26 miles to raise money for Bloodwise in honour of a colleague at Potters Bar station who had been diagnosed with leukaemia. Having breezed through that challenge, they decided to set themselves a target of nearly four times that distance.

Stevenage station platform staff member Sarah Day, who is taking part in this year’s challenge, said: “It’s a little daunting. Ninety miles didn’t seem a lot until we looked it up and I think it’s the equivalent of cycling from Stevenage to Grantham!”

Sarah and her colleagues have enjoyed working with The Prince’s Trust to give young people the sort of opportunity they may never have had before. GTR recently marked the fifth anniversary of the partnership with the charity, running the ‘Get into Railways’ course which offers young people four-week placements on the railway. The first two weeks are spent in the classroom and the second two weeks see them out at stations or on trains, working with the support of mentors.

Some of the young people may have struggled at school or faced challenging personal circumstances such as bereavement, ill health, injury or be living in temporary accommodation. Some may simply be struggling to get into work. Whatever their background, they are listened to and supported while gaining valuable work experience and in many cases, being rewarded with a job offer.

Sarah said: “This charity helps change lives. It has helped so many young people better themselves and their futures. Only recently I was working with a young man at Stevenage. He really enjoyed it here and now he is working at Finsbury Park station. He really was a pleasure to work with and I feel proud to see him progress. The Prince’s Trust is an amazing charity.”

GTR Chief Executive Officer Patrick Verwer said: “I am proud of our partnership with The Prince’s Trust, which opens young people’s eyes to the wide-ranging work opportunities the industry has to offer. It is always so rewarding to meet the young men and women who have done their placements with GTR and see how enthusiastic they are about working on our trains and at our stations. By investing in young people, we are investing in our future workforce.”

Trish Hubbard, Head of Operations East of England, The Prince’s Trust, said: “We are thrilled that GTR colleagues have chosen to support The Prince’s Trust and we wish them the best of luck in their cycle expedition. Over the years, colleagues across the GTR network have been involved with our charity, helping young people get into work on the railway. Their invaluable support has made a phenomenal difference to the lives of these young people, inspiring them and giving them confidence in the workplace.”

Colleagues in GTR's stations, offices and depots have held various fundraising events for the charity, including several very successful bake sales. 

To support the Great Northern team, you can donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GoviaThameslinkriders

For more information on the latest group of young people to take part in a GTR placement, visit: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/govia-thameslink-railway/pressreleases/12-young-people-thrilled-to-land-jobs-at-govia-thameslink-railway-2885448

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

GTR is currently the most punctual of the large and complex operators in UK rail according to 'On Time' statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road for May, June and July 2019, and fourth of all train operators in the UK

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