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Chiltern Railways seek community grant applications after successful first year of supporting local projects

Chiltern Railways has unveiled the results of its first Community Investment Fund (CIF), which has worked to foster a positive impact in the communities it serves over the last year.  

With the support of the fund, Chiltern Railways has successfully funded twelve community-based projects, with the total level of financial support reaching £120,000.  

Projects have been designed to enhance social and economic development of communities in Birmingham, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London.  

The news comes at Chiltern opens its application process for the Community Investment Fund 2025 today, Wednesday 1 May. Applications are open until Friday 31 May, and organisations on the route who deliver social, economic or environmental value to local communities are strongly encouraged to apply for grants – which range from £10,000 to £25,000. Priority will be given to applications with match funding. 

One beneficiary of last year, Achieving Results in Communities, used the funds to support the development of the Foundry Woods nature site in Leamington Spa.  

The site is located on disused railway sidings which have been transformed into a community woodland, and the funded project engages community and corporate volunteers in improving access, diversifying vegetation and documenting the history of the site.  

Kath Pasteur, Director and Project Manager at Achieving Results in Communities, said:  

“This project has so many different impacts. It is improving the biodiversity of our woodland through managing invasive species and adding new native ones. It is conserving our heritage through restoration of buffer ends and an interesting boundary marker post. It is also improving people's health and wellbeing, through getting them outdoors in nature, doing physical work and contributing towards a project that is of public benefit. 

"The difference that the volunteer sessions have made is really noticeable, and participants feel really satisfied with the impact they are having."  

Another group funded by Chiltern’s Community Investment Fund is Jericho, a group that works with survivors of modern slavery and other vulnerable people who are recovering from significant trauma. Many of the beneficiaries can feel isolated in safe houses or temporary accommodation, making building social relationships difficult.  

Jericho’s project focused on a series of day trips across the Chiltern Railways network, aiming to enhance social and emotional wellbeing, and build confidence when travelling on public transport so they can access new opportunities as they adjust to life in the UK.  

Nicole Newman, Equiano Plus Project Coordinator at Jericho, said: 

“The Community Investment Fund has been an incredible help to our project. It has enabled us to take our participants to new and exciting places, and really build their confidence and knowledge of using the railways to explore more of the UK. We’ve noticed a real improvement in the wellbeing of our participants since the project started and have seen new friendships formed. Thank you to Chiltern for this kind funding.” 

A beneficiary of Jericho’s project said: 

“I’d like the opportunity to share my thoughts on the trips. They’ve been incredibly uplifting and have provided a much-needed escape from the challenges I’ve faced. Each excursion has been a source of joy and a chance to create possible memories. Thank you for making these experiences possible.” 

Meanwhile, community and business focused groups such as the Friends of Leamington Spa Station and the Banbury Business Improvement District (BID) have been making station enhancements. The volunteer groups introduced a new garden area in Leamington Spa, while Banbury BID collaborated with local photographers to form a community gallery at Banbury station. With the funding, the organisation has also delivered art workshops, inviting local residents to design a vinyl mural for the town centre and station surroundings.  

Jasmine Gilhooly, BID Strategist at Banbury BID, said: 

 “We have never created anything like this at Banbury BID, I am a great believer in public art created by the people themselves, so I am very excited to see this all come together.” 

Community groups and not-for-profits interested in working with Chiltern Railways and applying for its Community Investment Fund 2025 are asked to visit for guidance on applying and to access the application form. Priority will be given to applications with match funding. 

Contact Information

Notes to editors

Groups and projects funded by the Chiltern Railways Community Invesment Fund 2024: 

  • Achieving Results in communities – Foundry Woods, Leamington Spa 
  • Baker Street Quarter Partnership – Historical poster display at Marylebone and supporting Westminster Wheels free bike check sessions. 
  • Banbury Business Improvement District – Community Gallery and Town Mural 
  • Catch22 Jams – Performances at Marylebone Station to raise funds for charities  
  • Heart and England Community Rail Partnership – Rail confidence sessions and Railway Exploration Trips for refugees in Solihull and Coventry.  
  • Jericho Foundation – offered a series of railway trips 
  • Lindengate – development of the 6-acre community garden and offering workshops 
  • National Literacy Trust – supporting the development of literacy and communication skills of young people in delivered areas.  
  • Oxfordshire Community Rail Partnership – Rail Trail maps to encourage outdoor exploration and a series of railway trips for young people. 
  • Sustrans – development of the Misbourne Greenway accessible walking, wheeling, and cycling route.  
  • The Friends of Leamington Spa Station – created a ‘Coronation Corner’ as an extension to the existing garden.  
  • The Friends of the Shakespeare Line – plan to display a statue of William Shakespeare at Moor St, and produce a community bookcase at the station.  


  • Chiltern Railways is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe,  employing around 38,000 people and delivering around 1.5 billion passenger journeys across 10 European countries. 
  • Chiltern operates commuter/regional rail passenger services from its Central London terminus at London Marylebone along the M40 corridor to destinations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, as well as long-distance services to the West Midlands along two routes. Services on the Chiltern Main Line run from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford, with some peak-hour services to Stourbridge Junction.
  • Chiltern also runs trains on the London to Aylesbury Line to Aylesbury (with some trains terminating at Aylesbury Vale Parkway instead), on the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury and Oxford to Bicester branch lines.