GWR’s Communities Fund is open now to applications that support local areas and address social need.
The train operator looks to help the likes of schools, colleges, councils, community and other not-for-profit organisations as part of its franchise agreement with the Department for Transport.
GWR is interested in collecting a variety of bids that look towards the year ahead. To be successful, the initiative must demonstrate a link to the railway and address either a social need or a community benefit.
Any schemes that get funding need to be complete by March 2023. They will be treated on their own merits and have to be received by 27 June.
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GWR business development director Tom Pierpoint said: “The Community Fund is a fantastic opportunity for us to invest in our communities in projects that really make a difference at a local level.
“We have had a really broad range of bids that have been successful in the past; they range from small infrastructure projects at stations or close to the railway, to outreach programmes to projects focusing on inclusion and diversity and to feasibility and research studies. They might be about promoting rail travel, supporting economic and environmental goals or making the railway more accessible and integrated with active travel.
“We are committed to improving the journeys of our passengers, as well as the economic prosperity and social footprint of the regions and communities we serve; and want to see new ideas and as many bids as we can get.”
Recently successful projects have included:
- £16,000 to change a run-down goods shed into a social enterprise and community hub in Llanelli
- £25,000 to the Lions Barber Collective for training barbers as mental health advocates
- £15,500 to help young people explore rural places in Gloucestershire, incorporating a multimedia element
- £64,000 to support Samaritans’ work to reduce the number of people who die by suicide
- £45,000 to help Torbay Council make the area more ‘child friendly’, with work experience opportunities for up to 50 young people
- £40,000 to help three community rail projects encouraging more customers on the North Downs Line