GWR offers support to areas of social need

Thursday 10th March 2016
Over 40 schemes will benefit from a share of £750,000 in the first year of a Great Western Railway communities improvement fund to support areas of real social need.

Designed to help boost local communities, up to £750,000 a year is available for three years as part of a £2.2 million Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF), and today successful bids for April 2016 have been announced.

Covering 41 different projects across more than 10 counties, the fund will see among others:

  • Help offered to disabled adults and children travel with their adaptive bikes 
  • An accredited education programme to improve access to engineering opportunities in South Wales
  • Improved cycling and access facilities to create more sustainable travel options 
  • Work to renovate a disused 1859 station building for the community 
  • A programme to work with Year 5 and 6 pupils in deprived areas to introduce them to the rail network and its link with communities 
A full list of the successful schemes can be found here.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“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.

“We had many responses from those in our communities looking for help, and I am delighted to be able to announce the schemes that have been successful in this first year of funding; helping to put our people, our customers, at the forefront of what we do.”

Transport Focus CEO, Anthony Smith said: 

“It is great to see customers and communities helping to shape improvements for their stations and services. There is a great range of projects here, from support for the next generation of railway engineers, through to practical station improvements and help for disabled passengers and low income families to use rail services.”

All the proposals were presented to a panel of representatives from GWRs 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 authority match funding.

So that GWR could start the scheme in April 2016, proposals for the first round of bids were requested in the Summer of 2015.

With match funding a requirement of successful bids, over £1.2 million has been committed to good causes.

Organisation name Area Project name and brief description Project benefits
West Berkshire Council
Berkshire Hungerford Station Pedestrian Connectivity - improved crossing on Station Road and the station forecourt.
Improves access to station and meets needs identified in Hungerford Station Regeneration Development Brief and West Berkshire Council Active Travel study.
Wheels for All Bristol and Bath
Helping disabled adults and children travel with their adapted bikes on train.
At least 30 non-rail users introduced to rail network.
University of West England Bristol and Bath Days out by Train in the West of England - Programme to encourage low income residents to travel by train.
Looking for at least 2000 low income residents to increase their use of the rail.
Bristol City Council Bristol and Bath Parsons Street improvements to station – general improvements to access of station.
Will improve perceived poor accessibility of station amongst local communities.
Severnside Community Rail Partnership
Bristol and Bath Severn Beach CCTV – free standing CCTV installation at Shirehampton and Sea Mills stations.
Will increase levels of reassurance to passengers and act as deterrent to anti-social behaviour.
Heart of Wessex CRP Bristol and Bath Avoncliff Station – Increased cycle storage
As station has no road access, will further increase levels of cycle access to station.
Keynsham Town Council
Bristol and Bath StationRamp Enhancement Community Project – enhance visual appearance of the new ramp.
Creates feel-good factor in community and surrounding area.
Cam Parish Council
Bristol and Bath Cam and Dursley Station Enhancement – Improved station facilities and walking and cycle access.
Will allow better access to station.
St Germans User Group
Cornwall
St Germans Station Downside Building Renovation - Work to bring back into use the building, part of the original Brunel designed station of 1859.
Aim to increase wider community interest in station.
Cotswold Line Promotion Group
Cotswolds
Oliver Lovell Fund – Creation of new waiting room on London platform.
Improvements to facilities at one or more stations on North Cotswolds Line.
Ashchurch and Tewkesbury District Rail Promotion Group
Cotswolds
Ashchurch for Tewkesbury Station Improvements – Programme of small scale improvements to increase local awareness in station.
Will increase awareness and greater use of rail station amongst Ashchurch and Tewkesbury.
Dame Hannah Rogers Trust
Devon
Hannahs Rail - Helping adults with a range of disabilities to travel by public transport across Devon.
Continuation of FGWs existing commitment to Trust.
 Torbay Council Devon
‘Convenience for the Community’ - Project to refurbish and improve facilities at Torquay station.
Increases facilities for primary platform at Torquay station.
Avocet Line Rail Users Group
Devon
Polsoe Bridge - Information and Access Improvements – Provision of real time information and footpath improvement
Will raise standards at one of least accessible stations on Avocet Line.
Avocet Line Users Group
Devon
St James Park - Approved facilities.
Identified by ALRUG and local FGW station management to cater for increasing usage of station.
Teignbridge District Council
Devon
Explore Dawlish Warren - Conversion of a disused building to house a new cycle hire facility.
Increase in tourism, support local economy and reduction in car access.
Heart of Wessex CRP
Dorset
Dorchester West Information scheme – Real time information provided.
Identified by CRP and station volunteers to further increase confidence in local community to use of station.
Stonehouse Town Council
Gloucester
Stonehouse Station Link Path - Improvements to entrance path.
Increased access to station and wider employment opportunities offered by rail network.
Three Rivers CRP
Hampshire Dean, Romsey and Mottisfont and Dunbridge Stations access – Series of access facilities.
Will increase levels of accessibility to the three stations.
Slough Borough Council
LTV
Slough Cultural Diversity and Rail Study - Exploring  barriers around use of rail travel in culturally diverse areas of Slough Borough.
Identification of obstacles and barriers amongst communities in Slough.
Slough Borough Council
LTV
Improving Cycle Access to Stations in Slough – Installation of bike dock hire stations.
Further increases cycle access to Slough stations.
London Borough of Hillingdon
 LTV Public realm improvements at Hayes and Harlington station - restoration of bespoke 1930's railings.
Will make area around station more welcoming and inviting.
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
LTV
Improving Cycling Opportunity to Windsor and Eton Central Station -  Expansion of cycle parking at station.
Complements Council’s existing programme in deprived communities, improves cycle security and builgs towards further planned cycle infrastructure upgrades.
Mobility Issues Group for Goring and Streatley
LTV
Goring and Streatley Wallingford Road Access improvements – Study to identify options to improve access to station along Wallingford Road.
Aim to make station fully accessible.
Buckingham County Council and Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
LTV
Marlow Branch Station Travel Plans – Travel plans for Furze Platt, Cookham, Bourne End and Marlow stations.
Identify accessibility, health, well-being and potential for local residents.
Mole Valley District Council
North Downs
Dorking West Station Access – improved signage to station.
Increase awareness in Dorking and wider Mole Valley of accessibility of Dorking West station.
Surrey County Council
North Downs
Blackwater Valley Cycle Access – Additional cycle parking at Blackwater; Farnborough North stations.
Improve cycle provision at the station.
Tackley Station
Oxfordshire
Tackley Station Community Partnership - Series of community initiatives to increase interest amongst wider community in Tackley station.
Better engagement within the local community.
Neath Port Talbot College
South Wales Budding Brunels with First Great Western - Education programme to increase career opportunities in engineering for deprived communities and ethnic groups.
Benefits young persons increasing understanding of employment opportunities through engineering and construction industries.
Monmouthshire County Council
South Wales
Severn Tunnel Junction Station Car Parking  - Creation of 70 additional car parking spaces.
Increase amount of car parking for station. reducing pressures within village of Rogiet.
Bridgend Town Council
South Wales
Bridgend Town Centre Brunel Heritage– Installation of interpretation boards around Bridgend Town Centre.
Increases awareness in Bridgend of railway and heritage of Brunel to the town.
South West Wales Regional Group of Local Authorities
South Wales
Train Training – Programme of activities to encourage train travel in Communities First areas across Neath, Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
Will further benefit some 8,000 pupils in Communities First areas across South West Wales, and increase awareness of rail travel and opportunities amongst 16-25 age group.
Vale of Glamorgan Council
South Wales
Vale of Glamorgan School Education – Programme to work with Year 5 and 6 pupils in deprived areas of Vale of Glamorgan.
Increase awareness of rail network, access opportunities and safety in area.
City and County of Swansea Council
South Wales

Bus Links to Railway Stations – Information improvements at Swansea Rail station bus stop.
Will benefit from better interchange between rail and bus services.
Somerset Rural Youth Project
Somerset
Access: Rail – Encourage opportunities for rail travel amongst young people.
Increase of personal, social, economic and educational development.
North Somerset Council
Somerset
Walking and Cycle Access Improvements at Weston-Super-Mare and Yatton stations – new handrail, fencing and signage.
Small scale improvements that will complete cycle and pedestrian access to two stations.
Somerset County Council
Somerset
Bridgwater Railway Station - College Link - Creation of more direct walking route from station to college.
Increase accessibility between station and college and deprived areas within town.
Frome Town Council
Somerset
Frome Station Access - Improved pedestrian signage to/from rail station.
Increasing access to station for low income areas of Frome.
Severnside Community Rail Partnership
Somerset
Bridgwater station - bringing disused station rooms back into community use. 
Will identify feasibility of bringing station building back into use.
Wiltshire County Council
Wiltshire
Westbury Station Pedestrian Access Improvements - Improved footway between the station and local area.
Provides safer signposted route between station and business and residential areas.
TransWilts Community Partnership
Wiltshire
Improving community access to Melksham station.
Reduction in walking distance by some 1km of route from social housing area to station.