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Submit your bid: GWR launches latest Customer and Community Improvement Fund in Wales

Projects connected to the railway and which address an area 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 52 projects totalling more than £900k, GWR is inviting funding bids for customer and community projects.

As part of its National Rail Contract with the Department for Transport, the train operator is committed to supporting schools, colleges, councils, community and other not-for-profit organisations by aiding a number of initiatives.

The Mumbles Railway Trail project saw £7,450 used to install replica station signs at 11 points along the route and at key points on the trail, along with information boards, posters and murals.

The use of QR codes has helped to bring alive the trial, providing smartphone access to video footage, audio and historical information.

GWR’s funding also allowed for the development of an Augmented Reality mobile application, including the ability to “walk around” a 3D Mumbles Railway train.

Now GWR is inviting bids for 2024-25. Schemes must show a link to the railway and address an area of social need.

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 2359 on Monday 25 March.

GWR’s Growth Manager for Wales & West of England, Rich Middleton, 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’re really keen to stress that all bids must relate to rail and address an area of social need.

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“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.

“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.