LNER is urging North-East residents to apply for share of its £500,000 communities pot, with applications for up to £100,000 welcome.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is encouraging communities across its route to apply for a share of its Customer and Community Investment Fund (CCIF), which has now opened for applications.

The fund helps customers and communities along the LNER route to undertake projects and initiatives that will help address a local issue, create opportunities to develop new skills, promote positive mental health and delivers educational or environmental benefits.

With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting many parts of society, the boost provided by CCIF is set to be more important than ever.

David Horne, LNER managing director, said: “LNER has supported so many fantastic charities and groups in recent years through this Fund, and is delighted to welcome applications in this new round. Applicants can apply for up £100,000 of funding, rather than the previous £50,000 limit.

“This latest round of applications will be split into two terms – the first for six months running from October 2021 for shorter-term projects and for those that can get off the ground quickly, and a second for larger projects running for 12 months from April 2022.

“As part of LNER’s commitment to being a responsible business we continue to support communities along our route, especially as many charities and local organisations have had a challenging 12 months. I’d encourage customers and organisations from across our route to get in touch and apply.”

Applications for both the six and 12-month terms, opened on February 22 and closes on April 2.

LNER is keen to hear from charities, community groups and individuals who are looking to address a social issue that affects customers and communities and has a positive impact on society.

Amongst previous projects to benefit from the funding is Friends of North Lodge Park Community in Darlington.

As part of their Healthy Parks Healthy People (HPHP) focus, the Friends of North Lodge Park Community planned to run a Grow Together Eat Together Holiday Programme.

Darlington Association on Disability's positive travel project has also benefitted. The Positive Travel Project will support disabled people and carers of all ages to tackle the barriers they face in accessing transport and travel in a variety of ways.

Other groups awarded funding include the Lantern Initiative run by Newcastle Cathedral and Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle.

Mairi Kidd, Chief Executive for Seven Stories said: “Funding from the LNER’s CCIF has enabled us to deliver vital work in the North East of England, to support families and children at a time when it is most needed.

"Through On Board with Stories, we have been working across the region with parents and babies born during lockdown to share storytimes, rhyme and song, sensory play and creative activities.

"Thanks to LNER we’ve been able to help tackle feelings of isolation, spread some storytelling cheer and share creative ways for families to continue enjoying books at home together.”

For more information and to apply, visit https://www.lner.co.uk/about-us/customer-and-community-investment-fund/