Revealed: The 39 community projects across the GWR network to share over £800,000 funding

A scheme to use a rail station garden to grow food for the homeless is just one of 39 to have been awarded funding from Great Western Railway today, as the train operator announces the winners of its community improvement fund.

Designed to help boost the local economy, GWR invited bids from its Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) last Summer, and today 39 winners from across the Great Western Railway network have been revealed, including £13,930 funding for a food growing and learning space.

The project aims to develop existing garden space at Avonmouth station to become a fully operational community food growing and learning space, overseen by Incredible Edible Bristol who are working with Feeding Bristol and Bristol City council towards a ‘Zero Hunger Bristol’.

Produce of the garden will be shared with the local community via Avonmouth Community Centre’s free/subsidised Lunch Club, the North Bristol Food Bank and the Bristol Jam Plan which serves homeless shelters.

Other successful schemes include further £46,650 funding for My Train Wales, a scheme to highlight the dangers of trespassing on the railways for primary school children; £16,850 funding for a new adventure playground in Taplow, to raise awareness and provide education about train travel to special needs children and young adults through a play train network.

In total almost 40 schemes successfully won funding, and with match funding a requirement of applying for the GWR Customer and Communities Improvement Fund, over £1.8 million is now set to benefit local community projects.

For full details of the successful schemes click here.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “We at GWR recognise only too well the vital role that rail plays in local and the national economy, and I am delighted that we have been able to continue to support the communities we serve with this funding.

“This year’s entrants include a wide and staggering range of projects, many showing the innovation that the area has become renowned for, and I look forward to them all coming to fruition.”

All the proposals were presented to a panel of representatives from GWR’s Customer Panel (made up of local customers), the Advisory Board (made up of local stakeholders), and the executive management team. Final recommendations were then put to the Department for Transport (DfT) for approval.

Supported by the DfT, the Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) was established to recognise and back projects identified by the communities where GWR operates, with projects requiring local match funding.