GTR launches fund for local community social and environmental projects
Published: 08 Jul 2022
- New “Your Station, Your Community” Improvement Fund to boost train operator’s support for local communities
- Funding pot of up to £500k per year to bring community ideas to life and deliver social improvements
- Customers and community groups are encouraged to propose projects that involve their local station in making a difference for their community
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is inviting customers and community organisations to bid for funding for social and environmental projects in their areas.
The train operator has today launched a new fund with up to £500,000 available each year to encourage ideas and activities that will strengthen links between stations and the local communities they serve. Projects can be based up to 15 miles from a GTR station.
The improvement fund, called “Your Station, Your Community,” will be shared by projects that engage local people in tackling social issues important to their community and the railway. Key themes for GTR include mental health, education, and employability skills amongst marginalised groups; diversity and inclusion; and environmental sustainability.
The train company will welcome applications from registered charities, community groups and other not-for-profit organisations such as rail user groups, community rail partnerships, business partnerships, town councils, parish councils and schools.
A wide range of activities will be considered for support. Successful bids could include diversity and outreach projects helping to open up rail travel to more communities, safety education and employability development schemes, building refurbishment – for instance, to convert a redundant station area to a community facility – and community art installations.
The window for applications for a share in the 2023/24 fund is open from today, 28 June, to 30 July. Details, with links to the application guide and form, are available on the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern websites.
Angie Doll, GTR’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’re offering funding for projects that will tackle problems of shared concern and importance to us and the communities we serve. We’re looking for proposals for projects that clearly address local social or educational needs, or involve local people in improving sustainability and the environment around their stations.
“The Fund continues the work of our successful multimillion-pound station improvement programme but with even more emphasis on social issues and community involvement. This will forge stronger bonds that help us work together to rebuild after the Covid pandemic and make improvements with lasting benefits for the future.
“It’s your station, your community. We’re looking forward to seeing your ideas!”
To make the fund as widely available as practical, and maximise its impact across GTR’s network, bids will be considered for a minimum of £1,000 and a maximum of £50,000, to pump-prime, match-fund or contribute to suitable projects.
Applications should be for projects that require one-off funding, or will become self-funding, rather than long-term financial support from the Fund, such as for the employment of staff beyond a fixed period.
Applicants need to show how their scheme strengthens links between the GTR network and the communities it serves. They should provide evidence of how their scheme would address an area of social need and serve and engage with the community. Clear plans for delivering the project should include accurate costs, timescales and assurances about any consents or permissions needed from other organisations.
Applications will be assessed by GTR, working with passenger watchdog Transport Focus as an independent representative of the customer voice, against fixed criteria that are set out on the website. Shortlisted schemes will be sent for approval to the Department for Transport before the end of the year. Successful applicants will be notified in March 2023, with the aim of successful projects starting from April 2023.