Avanti West Coast Penrith 1

Avanti West Coast opens new round of funding to bring community projects to life

New round of funding from Avanti West Coast designed to create a difference in communities it serves. 

  • Customer and Communities Investment Scheme to support local projects
  • Funding pot aims to create a difference in regions served by Avanti West Coast
  • Customers and community groups encouraged to submit ideas for local initiatives

Regions across Avanti West Coast’s route are set to benefit from a new round of funding designed to improve stations and create a difference in local communities.

The inter-city operator’s Customer and Communities Investment Scheme (CCIS) is open for applications for projects which address regeneration challenges and tackle social needs across the regions served by Avanti West Coast. The money will be awarded to the successful bidders over a one-year period.

This latest investment by Avanti West Coast follows the delivery of community and charitable initiatives across its network last year, funded by the previous round of the CCIS.  

Customers, stakeholders, and community groups are encouraged to submit proposals for initiatives which can bring positive change to communities local to the West Coast Main Line – running between London, Scotland and North Wales.

Submissions could range from schemes aimed at better integrated journeys to and from stations using sustainable transport modes, to a community project that supports good mental wellbeing or connecting young people with opportunities (education, jobs, skills).

Applications should consider the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. This plan helped shape Avanti West Coast’s thinking behind the CCIS, to create inclusive, prosperous and connected communities by addressing areas such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.  

One beneficiary of the CCIS was international charity, Railway Children, who work with street children in India, East Africa and the UK. They secured funding in July 2021 to employ two full-time workers in the West Midlands who have been able to offer support to 182 referrals of young people identified by British Transport Police as being vulnerable on the rail network.*

Speaking of how the CCIS has enabled Railway Children to create a difference, the charity’s UK Programme Director, Jacqui Highfield, said: “The funding we have received from Avanti West Coast’s Customer and Communities Investment Scheme has enabled us to launch our fourth Safeguarding on Transport Programme, this time based in the West Midlands.

“After Covid-19 we could not have imagined being able to take this huge step forward due to the impact of the pandemic on us as a charity. When we found out we had been successful in receiving funding and were able to start reaching and protecting vulnerable people in the West Midlands it was a brilliant, exciting opportunity. Without the support from Avanti West Coast, we would not have been able to have done this. Thank you!”

Richard Scott, Partnerships and Strategy Director at West Coast Partnership, said: “Since launching our Customer and Communities Investment Scheme we’ve been able to work in partnership with more local groups and organisations to make positive changes in the regions we serve. We’re keen to build on this, so we’re delighted to open another round of funding for this scheme.

“At Avanti West Coast we connect people and places to opportunity and this fund will help benefit communities across our route, which is especially important as society faces challenging times.  

“We hope the success of previous projects will inspire others to submit their ideas. We would love our customers, stakeholders and community groups to bid for a share of the funding, so we can support initiatives that matter to them and make a difference to our stations, as well as the regions we serve.”

Rail Minister, Wendy Morton, said: “Our railway offers more than just a service to travel on. It connects people and places, builds up local communities and provides opportunities for growth.

“As we continue striving towards creating a transport network which is safe and accessible for all, Avanti’s Customer and Communities Investment Scheme is just one of the brilliant ways our railway is going above and beyond the realms of travel, to tackle regeneration challenges and social needs across the UK.”

For more information about CCIS and guidance on how to apply for a share of the fund, visit:  https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/about-us/sustainability/community-hub

The closing date for applications for the second phase of funding is 23:59 on 16 September 2022.


Contact Information

Laura Normansell

Avanti West Coast


Notes to editors

*Railway Children Safeguarding on Transport Case Study

Gaynor Little, UK Regional Manager at Railway Children, explains what Avanti West Coast’s Customer and Communities Investment Scheme has enabled the charity to deliver: “Through the funding from Avanti West Coast’s Customer and Communities Investment Scheme we have been able to employ two full-time workers who have been able to offer support to 182 referrals of young people identified by British Transport Police (BTP) as being vulnerable on the rail network. All of these young people are aged between 10 and 18 and BTP officers have referred them for concerns such as being missing from home, trespassing, being in a mental health crisis, being sexually exploited or being involved in anti-social behaviour or County Lines.

“Along with the direct support work for young people we have also been able to set up a Safeguarding Action Group at Birmingham New Street station bringing together the station’s rail community to support vulnerable children at the station. BTP are expecting to encounter 10,000 children across the UK rail network this year that they identify as having concerns for their wellbeing and safety. With Avanti West Coast’s funding, Railway Children will be able to offer help to those young people – without that, many vulnerable children would not be able to access support and advice which can get them back on the right track and keep them safe from harm.”

Notes to Editors

The UN Sustainable Development Goals can be found here: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

Customer and Communities Improvement Scheme

The Customer and Communities Investment Scheme (CCIS) is in place to support schemes across the Avanti West Coast route. Its aim is to support projects across the routes and regions we serve and create a difference that benefits the community.

This is a chance for people along our route to apply for a share of the fund (subject to terms and approvals).

For more information and guidance on how to apply, visit: https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/about-us/sustainability/community-hub

About Railway Children

Railway Children has been fighting for children alone and at risk on the streets for over 25 years. During that time, we’ve reached more than 275,000 children in India, the UK and East Africa.  

We know there is still so much more to do. Millions of children still live alone on the streets where they suffer abuse and exploitation. In the UK, society often denies their existence, and in other countries the problem is so prevalent that it has become ‘normal’.

In the UK Railway Children has a unique partnership with British Transport Police (BTP) who refer vulnerable young people who are found on the rail network. Railway Children currently has 4 projects established in the UK, (Northwest, Yorkshire & Humber, London, and West Midlands) with a desire to establish 2 more. The work in the UK also focuses on encouraging the rail industry to be the charities ‘eyes and ears’ looking out for and reporting vulnerable young people to BTP and making the network a safer space.


About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel, linking together the towns and major cities of the UK to create an iconic railway the country can be proud of. We’ve got big plans including a fleet of new intercity trains, as well as the complete refurbishment of the existing Pendolino train fleet. We will introduce more train services every week with new routes added, and a much-improved onboard service with enhanced free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, 25,000 brand new seats and improved catering. Since 8 December 2019, passengers have benefitted from improved passenger compensation, available for journeys delayed by just 15 minutes.

For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Room: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/

Press Office: 0845 000 3333