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Bulbs by the bucket-load: Groundwork East's James Newell (left) and Tom Moran from Govia Thameslink Railway launch their station landscaping and artwork partnership
Bulbs by the bucket-load: Groundwork East's James Newell (left) and Tom Moran from Govia Thameslink Railway launch their station landscaping and artwork partnership

Press release -

​New partnership set to brighten up stations and help local people bloom

High-resolution images and broadcast-quality B-roll can be downloaded at the bottom of this press release

  • Govia Thameslink Railway and Groundwork East partnership will freshen up 19 stations with new artwork and landscaping
  • Projects will involve local schools and community groups, and offer a chance for local unemployed people to gain new skills and qualifications

Govia Thameslink Railway has announced it will be working with community and environmental charity Groundwork East to spruce up 19 stations across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

The projects will improve how the stations look and feel, and their sustainability credentials. A selection of stations will enjoy new landscaping including ‘pollinator areas’ to attract and protect bees. Local people will get the chance to be involved in the planting fun, with special ‘Community Days’ planned for passengers and residents.

At three of the stations – Bayford, Welham Green and Welwyn North – landscaping schemes will be carried out through Groundwork’s award-winning ‘Green Team’ training programme. This gives volunteers who are currently unemployed the opportunity to gain work experience, new skills and City & Guilds qualifications in both horticulture and employability.

Children at selected local schools will also be offered an exciting opportunity to create new artwork representing their area. Many of their creations will be permanently displayed at stations in the new year.

Future partnerships with other Groundwork regional teams are in the pipeline to freshen up a further 56 stations across the GTR network, making a total of 75.

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, and James Newell, Groundwork East’s Executive Director, signed up to the partnership and launched the programme officially at Radlett station on Friday [20 November] by starting the planting of 100 crocus and daffodil bulbs.

Tom Moran said “We are delighted to be working with Groundwork to improve our stations and support our local communities. Our multimillion-pound station improvement programme includes landscaping or planting at 75 stations in total. Much of the work will be carried out by trainee landscapers recruited by Groundwork, who help support local people to develop their skills and ultimately find work.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our new landscaped areas in bloom next year as well as some of the fantastic new artwork we are commissioning to brighten up everyone’s journeys.”

James Newell said: “We’re delighted that GTR has engaged us to improve stations for their passengers. As a responsible business, GTR shares our mission to create stronger, healthier communities, and better prospects for local people.

“Our Green Team volunteers will transform spaces in and around stations while also receiving help with their employability. Local community groups will get involved in some landscaping work, including the creation of wildflower areas to support the nation’s bee population, which is under threat.”

Groundwork East start preparatory work this month, and passengers will see the artistic and horticultural results by early spring next year. The train operator is also discussing similar programmes to be carried out by Groundwork London and Groundwork South.


Notes to editors:

About the GTR-Groundwork East partnership: stations and activities

Station Activity
Biggleswade Planting, school and youth art
Harlington Planting, fence painting, school art
Luton Planting, artwork
Sandy Planting, school and youth art
Shepreth Planting, artwork
Ashwell & Morden Planting
Bayford Planting, school art
Elstree & Borehamwood Planting, fencing, artwork
Harpenden Planting
Hitchin Planting, artwork
Potters Bar School art
Radlett Planting, school art
Royston Planting
St Albans Planting, artwork
Stevenage School art
Welham Green Planting, school art
Welwyn North Planting, school art
Downham Market Planting, school art
King’s Lynn Planting, artwork

About Groundwork and its ‘Green Team’ programmes

Groundwork is a federation of charities mobilising practical community action against poverty and for the environment across the UK.

Its “Green Team” programmes provide support, training and work experience to help participants improve their landscaping skills and employability whilst working on a real-life community project.

For the GTR station schemes, Groundwork East will be recruiting for volunteer trainees in the Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City areas. Green Team trainees can gain a City & Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Practical Horticulture and a Level 1 Award in Employability. The projects also provide general information, advice and guidance on moving towards employment, including chances to improve CVs and engage with local employers.

About artwork projects with schools

Artistic activities will be starting this autumn at schools in Bayford, Biggleswade, Downham Market, Potters Bar, Sandy, Stevenage, Welham Green and Welwyn North.

Children will create art to be mounted on panels that can be displayed permanently at the stations in the New Year. Selected local schools will be offered sessions with an artist to support the children with their creative ideas and produce their art. At Sandy and Biggleswade, Groundwork youth clubs will also create art boards. [The project format is subject to change in response to Covid-19 restrictions.]

Professional artists will create large murals or installations for five stations, with a theme taking inspiration from their local area’s history or environment.

About GTR’s wider station improvements programme

GTR’s network-wide, multimillion-pound improvement programme involves over 1,000 projects, many of which were suggested by local passenger and community groups, at more than 250 stations. While we’re working hard to achieve the punctuality and reliability our passengers rightly expect, we want them to know we are with them all the way and making their stations better places to pass through.

The vast number and range of improvements that we're making can be described under three themes:

1. First, we’re giving many stations a better ambience by redecorating, planting and installing artwork, often with substantial input from the local community

2. Second, we’re making stations work better for passengers, improving comfort and safety with waiting rooms and shelters, seating, lighting, information screens, defibrillators for public use, and accessibility schemes

3. And third, we’re making stations more sustainable, with schemes such as electric vehicle charging points, facilities for cyclists, rainwater retention systems, and even bee gardens.

We’ve created dedicated web pages where passengers and local communities can get updates on what’s happening at their station. They can be found at:



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

Govia Thameslink Railway
United Kingdom