GWR to give charities a boost for Twelve Days of Christmas

Thursday 24th December 2020
GWR twelve days of Christmas causes promotional image with charity logos

The train operator’s Twelve Days of Christmas Causes campaign launches on 25 December and runs until 5 January, otherwise known as Twelfth Night.

The campaign will see GWR showcasing across its social channels the 16 organisations it supports to raise greater awareness of the work they do. All were nominated for support by GWR colleagues.

GWR Business Assurance Director Joe Graham said:

“Great Western Railway is committed to supporting the communities it serves and the Twelve Days of Christmas Causes campaign is the perfect chance to give them a prominent platform with a large social following during the season of giving.

“Our aim is that all our supported charities will benefit from their moment in the spotlight, whether through raising awareness of their causes, or inspiring people to donate or volunteer.”

Among them is Action for Children, which is in a three-year partnership with GWR’s parent company, FirstGroup. The charity provides emotional and practical care and support to vulnerable children and campaigns to bring lasting improvements to their lives.

Through the partnership, FirstGroup has donated advertising space across its UK transport network, helping to place the charity’s message in front of millions of people.

Ermelinda Ceci, Senior Corporate Development Executive at Action for Children said:

“We’re incredibly grateful to GWR for supporting our Secret Santa campaign through their Twelve Days of Christmas Causes initiative.

“Christmas should be the most exciting time of the year, but every day our frontline workers are helping thousands of children and young people facing one of the most difficult Christmases of their lives – anxious, scared and lonely. Growing numbers of families are struggling with their own anxieties, wondering how they’re going to afford to keep their family warm and well fed – with some even selling belongings to pay for any festivities.

“In a year when children and families have been pushed deeper into crisis, supporting them is now more important than ever. Until every family can keep their child warm and well fed, we’ll be there to help them. All funds raised will help us make a life-changing difference to vulnerable children this Christmas and beyond.”

Also featuring in the campaign will be Women’s Aid, the domestic abuse charity. In March it formed a ‘Rail to Refuge’ collaboration with GWR, offering free rail travel for those fleeing domestic violence and who are travelling to a refuge. The scheme means that survivors with a confirmed refuge space can travel for free across the network.

Whether it is due to limited places at refuges, or the need to move away from a perpetrator, some must travel a considerable distance to be able to find safety. Since the launch, nearly 150 survivors have travelled with GWR to a place of safety. The scheme has also been adopted by other train operators across Britain.

Jo Bridger, Procurement Coordinator & Rail to Refuge Lead at Women’s Aid said:

“When we celebrated GWR joining Rail to Refuge on International Women's Day on 8 March 2020, we did not imagine how our lives would be changed by COVID-19. However, in response to the news that domestic abuse worsened – as perpetrators used the pandemic as a tool of abuse – GWR's support of the scheme has been replicated across the whole of mainland Britain's rail network, thanks to the generosity of the Rail Delivery Group.

“GWR's support of Women's Aid and our partner organisations in England and Wales has shown that all of us can work together to end domestic abuse. Since March, over 100 women and nearly 50 children have travelled on GWR's trains to reach a refuge.

“GWR should be incredibly proud of the support it has provided to Women's Aid, the refuges in our Federation, and all of their passengers who have been able to take these life-saving journeys.”

Many of the charities are local to the GWR network, including Launchpad, a homelessness prevention charity based in Reading, and Dorothy House, which provides hospice care and community support across Wiltshire and Somerset.

Other featured charities include:
  • Mermaids
  • Velindre Cancer Centre
  • Samaritans
  • Diversity UK
  • Family Holiday Association
  • Bowel Cancer UK
  • Meningitis Now
  • Railway Benefit Fund
  • Mountain Rescue England
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
  • The Trussell Trust
Great Western Railway will be running an amended timetable between 21-27 December.

Online timetables are being updated and customers are strongly advised to check their journey before travelling at

GWR has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure that these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible, such as restricting the number of reservations available.

Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives, we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.