Great Western Railway (GWR) has announced a fresh round of bids for its Customer and Community Improvement Fund in Bristol and Somerset.

The scheme, bolstered by last year's success, invites proposals related to the railway that target social needs.

During the last financial year, GWR supported 52 projects with a total funding exceeding £900k.

Rich Middleton, GWR’s growth manager for Wales and West of England, said: "The Customer and Community Improvement Fund is a fantastic opportunity for us to invest in projects that really make a difference to our customers and communities at a local level.

"We’re really keen to stress that all bids must relate to rail and address an area of social need.

"We are particularly interested in schemes that benefit customers, increase rail travel, encourage carbon reduction, connect communities, people and places, support economic growth, promote inclusion and diversity, and educational programmes that support careers in rail or increase awareness and experience of public transport and rail safety.

"A good bid will show a strong level of community involvement and support and the proposal will have benefits that last beyond the duration of the project."

In line with its National Rail Contract with the Department for Transport, GWR's initiative aids a broad spectrum of societal platforms, including schools, colleges, councils, community groups, and other not-for-profit organisations.

One precedent of this strategic assistance extends to the Strawberry Line Cycle Project, a non-profit cycle hire plan at Yatton Station, which used a GWR grant of £13,150 to bolster its range of bicycles.

The grant enabled the procurement of a Veloplus wheelchair-accessible bike, sported with a power pack, enhancing the riding experience and distance capability for its users.

Invitations for 2024-25 bids are now open.

Proposed projects must exhibit a direct or tangential link to the railway industry while addressing a palpable social need.

All applications are to be submitted through GWR's online portal, with clear guidance provided for potential applicants.

The deadline is set at 11.59pm on March 25, with GWR expressing a specific interest for small to medium project bids.