Submit your bid: GWR launches latest Customer and Community Improvement Fund in Oxfordshire
Projects supporting local communities and addressing areas of social need can now apply for a slice of Great Western Railway’s Customer and Community Improvement Fund.
Following the success of last year’s scheme, in which GWR supported 83 projects totalling £1m, the train operator is inviting funding bids for customer and community projects.
As part of its National Rail Contract with the Department for Transport, GWR is committed to supporting schools, colleges, councils, community and other not-for-profit organisations by aiding a number of initiatives.
In Oxford, the Greater Change Foundation used a grant of £18,400 to support a multi-agency project designed to reduce homelessness.
Contactless devices have been placed in and around the city centre to divert funds away from individuals into the charities actively working to end homelessness, helping those most entrenched rough sleepers to move forward.
A grant of more than £17,000 helped My Life My Choice coordinate a Travel Buddy project in Oxfordshire, giving individuals with learning difficulties the confidence to travel independently.
A paid Travel Trainer who has a learning disability and independent travel skills is trained to ‘buddy’ a peer. Together they practise a journey together multiple times until the trainee has built the skills and confidence needed to do it independently and safely.
Now GWR is inviting bids for 2023-24. Schemes should show a link to the railway and address an area of social need or provide a community benefit. They should reach completion by the end of February 2024.
Applications must be submitted via an online portal on GWR’s website here, where there are also guidance notes on making a successful bid. All proposals must be submitted by Thursday 25 May.
GWR East Growth Manager Ed Goose said:
“The Customer and Community Improvement Fund is a fantastic opportunity for us to invest in projects that really make a difference to our customers and communities at a local level.
“We are particularly interested in schemes that benefit customers, increase rail travel, encourage carbon reduction, connect communities, people and places, support economic growth, promote inclusion and diversity, and educational programmes that support careers in rail or increase awareness and experience of public transport and rail safety.
“This year we are also particularly looking for projects that help veterans, long term unemployed and women and girls.
“A good bid will show a strong level of community involvement and support and the proposal will have benefits that last beyond the duration of the project.”
Bids can vary in size, but GWR is particularly looking for small and medium bids to maximise the number of communities it can help.
Media and Communications Manager
Great Western Railway
0845 410 4444
Notes to editors
First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: https://www.gwr.com/about-us