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Community Rail News – 12 June 2024

Hello everyone. We hope, as always, that this bulletin finds you well.

We are hopeful of being able to launch the DfT’s Community Rail Development Fund (CRDF) and Small Grants Funds (SGF), pending internal government approvals, in early/mid July. We appreciate that many members are waiting on the funds opening to be able to move forward with planned projects, having expected (as we did) the funds to open in April as usual. We have been in regular liaison with our DfT contacts since April, making them aware of the impacts of the delay, and have been assured that everything possible is being done to move things forward, although there remain no firm guarantees. Please bear in mind that if and when funds become available, it is likely that due to demand caused by the delay, the turnaround for applications will be longer than usual. We will communicate with members as soon as we have news, and please do continue to liaise with your support & development team contact in the meantime for advice on accessing funding from us and wider sources.

All political parties are now campaigning in preparation for the general election on Thursday 4 July. We encourage members to continue to develop relations with parliamentary candidates across the political spectrum so that post-election there is a strong awareness of community rail and the work you are doing. However, it is important to be especially mindful about ensuring that any communications or materials you’re using do not include logos or content from any of your funders/partners without their permission, as they may be following rules during the pre-election period of sensitivity.

Join our next webinar on Wednesday 17 July, 10am-12pm, for advice and insights into how community groups and non-profits can secure vital support from business and corporate partners. This session will offer a step-by-step approach to identifying companies whose values align with yours, and how to build strong, well-targeted relationships that attract financial and in-kind contributions. Book here.

We’re delighted to announce that our 20th anniversary Community Rail Awards will take place on Thursday 13 March 2025 at Newcastle Civic Centre. This milestone Awards is closely supported by our headline partners Lumo and will link in with Railway 200. More details will be revealed over the coming months in this bulletin and on our Awards webpage.

Another date for your diary: our annual Community Rail Conference for CRPs, run with the Department for Transport, is scheduled to take place in Nottingham, Tuesday 8 October 2024, with a meal and networking the evening before. Further details to be confirmed soon.

Our corporate partners offer a variety of skill sets, knowledge and opportunities for members to access. If you are interested in accessing support from one of our corporate partners, please complete our new online form

Our online networking sessions provide a chance for CRP chairs or officers to share experiences, discuss issues and get information and support. CRP chairs can choose between a daytime session (Thursday 4 July, 10am-12.15pm) or an evening session (Monday 8 July, 6.45-8.30pm). Our next CRP officers’ session is on Tuesday 9 July, 9.30am-12.45pm. Booking links have been sent via email; contact with any queries.

If you have any news stories, please email our communications team on See here for guidance on submitting stories.

Your next bulletin is on 26 June. Keep up-to-date in between on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramLinkedIn and TikTok.

Best wishes,
Jeremy and Jools

Members took part in activities this month to mark D-Day’s 80th anniversary.

Purbeck CRP unveiled a memorial plaque at Swanage Station where American soldiers embarked on their journey to Normandy. GIs from the 26th Infantry Regiment of the US Army’s First Infantry Division were stationed in Swanage while they trained for the Allied invasion in June 1944, and the Swanage Railway, now a heritage line, transported the troops and their equipment to and from the town.

Friends of Handforth Station engaged the community at a local event, sharing information about the RAF Maintenance Unit established in the village during the war and the role the local railway played in this momentous part of history.