Community
Stories


of enterprise, inspiration

and community endeavour

 

The Customer and Communities Improvement Fund enables local people to partner with the railway industry, bringing community ingenuity to develop projects that are not-for-profit, to enrich localities and enhance the railways.

There have been two funding rounds covering project delivery in 2019-2021 and 2022-2023.

The process comprises publication of the scheme and an intense vetting and selection process by community officers, individuals, and organisations. To qualify, projects must not be for commercial gain, costs must be in proportion with the social and regeneration outcomes expected and projects must have a clear community focus with passenger considerations as well as being physically based close to our stations so that the stations will function as ‘community hubs’.  

In 2019, 21 schemes were selected to go forward for the first year of delivery and the array of funded projects included community hub creation, heritage ventures, science & technology ventures, arts, gardening, festivals, urban revival, music maps, rambles and all sorts in between. The investments were released to the schemes based on ‘Third Party Led Project’ contracts and created ventures across the West Midlands railway network to strengthen community and social regeneration and encourage more close involvement in the railways by local communities.

West Midlands Railway launched the Customer and Communities Improvement Fund in 2019 to support projects across the region to connect communities, deliver social regeneration and create tangible benefits at stations to support local people.

 

The second round of funding was launched publicly on 27th April 2022 and the bidding round closed on 11th May. The two-week consultation period resulted in 90 applications however, many of the bids did not meet the fund criteria, the successful bids met a range of conditions while reflecting post covid changing rail travel patterns and passenger and community needs. An important factor in this round of funding was ‘deliverability’ by the fund deadline of February 2023.

As in Year One, the bids were scored and assessed and presented to a Judging Panel made up of:
Network Rail Officers, TOC Managers, Transport Focus, Community Leads and Local Authorities.

 

The successful schemes for 2022/23 were submitted by social enterprise organisations and they all provided projects to enrich the communities served by West Midlands Railway, showed tangible benefits to the community with an emphasis on inclusion, diversity, engagement, environment, education, increasing rail travel and station regeneration.

As in Year One, the proposals were inspiring and came with matched funding both from the applicants’ volunteer time and other sources.

2022 projects include:

  • Art programmes at stations

  • Mental health and community wellbeing schemes

  • Pop up community ventures in disused station buildings

  • Projects to support disadvantaged communities

 

  • Rail travel confidence building programmes

  • Community station projects include Transport, Education, Local Enterprise & Visitor Hubs

  • Education qualifications based on community rail programmes

  • Rail inspired poetry and a station Christmas Tree Festival

“There is an important ‘people’ bonding element to these projects. People work together, meet and make new contacts and friendships. So whilst the delivery of the works can be challenging, much 'good' does prospers!”

Community Project Manager

The Customer & Communities
Improvement Fund

Serves local communities

Is delivered by local people

Has a clear Community focus

Can be completed the the timescales

Addresses areas of social need 

Creates economic and social regeneration impact at stations and beyond

To qualify, projects must not be for commercial gain, costs must be in proportion with the social and regeneration outcomes expected and projects must have a clear community focus with passenger considerations as well as being physically based close to our stations so that the stations will function as ‘community hubs’.  

Your Community, Your Fund
2019-23

The Funding Amount

£1 million

External Funding Input

60

Community Leaders involved

70

WMR Stations Adopted, Enhanced & Improved

25,000

Volunteer Hours Invested

1

Educational
Qualification

18

Specially composed poems for stations

20

Station Enhancement Schemes & Community Boards Installed

7

Disused Station Buildings brought back into use

2

Wellbeing Pop-ups

2

Trails from Stations/Rail & Ale and Poetry

1

Refurbished Vintage Rail Carriage

1

Secret Garden at the Station

1

‘Walking with Giants’ Trail from the Station

1

New Footpath

50

Railway Themed Library Books

6

Community Rooms

1

Festival of Innovation

1

Brass Band Gazebo

35

Music Maps for Stations

...and 000’s of local people will benefit from these community schemes

The Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) is a fund to support visionary schemes that bring lasting benefit to the community, encourage the use of rail and create social and economic regeneration.