Cambridge has held the unenviable title of “most unequal city in the UK” since 2017. Within the city, people in Abbey Ward are amongst some of the most disadvantaged. Two organisations have developed a partnership to start making a bigger difference to those people’s lives.
Railpen has established a new long-term partnership with local community charity Abbey People to support some of the most vulnerable and excluded groups in Cambridge, with a particular focus on the Abbey and East Barnwell area of Cambridge. Amongst other things, Abbey People run a Food Hub which runs three days a week, and has seen a steady increase in demand, while donations both from individuals and supermarkets have reduced.
The overall aim of the partnership will be to ensure local residents benefit from the investment coming forward in the area through the proposed rejuvenation of both the Beehive Centre and Cambridge Retail Park. Key strands of activity include:
- ‘Helping Each Other’ – investing in the short-term needs of Abbey and East Barnwell by providing core funding for the Abbey Food Hub at East Barnwell Community Centre.
- Opening doors – Railpen will work with Abbey People to offer mentoring programmes, careers sessions, work experience and training, as well as direct job opportunities, to inspire people from underrepresented backgrounds to consider a career in life science.
- Creating opportunities – By working with peers, suppliers and partners, Railpen will also look to empower local people facing barriers with skills and opportunities to enter the world of work. They will provide disadvantaged groups better access to the local job market across the lifecycle of Railpen’s developments, with opportunities in everything from design and construction through to day-to-day estate management.
- Community volunteering programme – Railpen and its partners will establish a volunteering programme to get to know the community better and the challenges it faces. This will include helping with projects to improve the local community facilities and environment, volunteering at Food Hub Sessions and joining community events.
The CEO of Abbey People, Nicky Shepard, said:
“The support of Railpen shows how the benefits of investment can be shared throughout our communities. This comes at a crucial time for the Food Hub where we are seeing more people than ever through the door, while the cost-of-living crisis has hit our food donations hard. We are really looking forward to seeing the positive impact that this partnership will have on the lives of local people.”
Railpen is committed to making a positive impact wherever it can in the community. This latest initiative is testament to a unique outlook that enables Railpen to take a long-term view towards investment – focusing on looking after the pension needs of rail industry workers and making a positive impact on the communities people retire into.
Head of Property Asset Management at Railpen, Matthew Howard, said: “We are incredibly proud to be supporting this fantastic charity doing great work right on our doorstep in Cambridge. We hope we can play our part in making a difference to the lives of local people through this partnership and other projects we are developing with organisations like Cambs Youth Panel.”