Virgin Trains & Rethink Mental Illness: a truly brilliant partnership.


Virgin Trains staff supported our work at Rethink Mental Illness from April 2017 to the end of their rail franchise in December 2019. Our Head of Corporate Partnerships, James Fletcher, looks back at our partnership:

“We're bowled over that Virgin Trains staff are on track to raise a £327k for our work at Rethink Mental Illness. Thank you so much to all the staff who have worked so hard to raise funds over the last 2.5 years. £327k is equivalent to the cost of giving support and guidance for a full three years to 2,000 people through our local community support groups along the West Coast Main Line – a truly brilliant achievement.

Our support groups are a lifeline for many people – they not only provide a safe place for mental health carers and people who have been directly affected to share their experiences and build friendships but also offer therapeutic activities such as gardening, art, and music, to boost wellbeing too as well.

On top of this, our work with Virgin Trains has helped us launch new groups in communities where no support was available before - including Birmingham, Stockport and Carlisle.

Our partnership has made passengers safer too – with 120 managers trained in mental health awareness and last year’s Christmas campaign – It’s A Wonderful Line – which saw the script of the It’s a Wonderful Life painted along the platforms on the West Coast Main Line.

So while Virgin Trains will no longer be on the West Coast, the legacy of our partnership will live on in communities up and down the West Coast Mainline, and help thousands of people affected by mental illness. And on behalf of all of us: thank you.”

Joanna Buckley, Community Manager at Virgin Trains, added:

“Our charity partnership with Rethink Mental Illness has helped us to change how we think and deal with mental health.

“Together we have created an environment where our people can talk openly about their mental health and we have helped our customers and communities with support groups as well as initiatives designed to champion the little things that can make a big difference to our wellbeing.

“We are really proud of what we’ve achieved over the last two and a half years and are sure it will continue to have a long lasting impact.”

If you are interested in joining Rethink Mental Illness as a corporate partner and helping us challenge attitudes to mental illness, please contact our Corporate Partnership team on 0207 840 3038