RESIDENTS in Gwent are being offered the chance to take over their local railway station as part of celebrations to mark International Day of Charity today.

Members of the public volunteer to take on unstaffed railway stations in their area through the Arriva Trains ‘Adopt a Station’ scheme, which was launched in 2004.

More than 130 Arriva Traines Wales stations have since been adopted by volunteers, who receive an annual issue of rail travel vouchers.

There are now 84 more up for grabs including Caldicot, Chepstow and Ebbw Vale and Newbridge.

‘Adopt a Station’ aims to improve links between Arriva, local communities and customers living near 190 unstaffed stations across the railway operator’s network.

Station adopters provide regular feedback on litter, graffiti, vandalism, lighting and timetable information so that any issues can be addressed.

There are also opportunities for volunteers to compete for ‘Best Kept Station’ titles and horticultural awards in some areas.

Geraint Morgan, Arriva’s community relations manager, said: “Station adopters don’t have to do any cleaning or maintenance because these are done on a regular basis by our own staff.

“They act as an extra pair of eyes and ears at our stations where we don’t have any on site staff and report any problems. It’s a really vital job and we are very grateful to all the volunteers across our network who make the charitable effort on behalf of their local community to help keep their stations at their best.”

For more information on Arriva Trains Wales’ ‘Adopt a Station’ scheme, visit www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/AdoptStation or contact 03333 211202.