CRL - Community Rail Lancashire

Fund Launched To Help Connect Communities

A New Fund has been Launched to help Connect Communities By Rail

A new £16,000 funding pot will be open to grass roots organisations to kickstart innovative and creative projects that connect communities by public transport. Charities, community groups and grass roots organisations across East Lancashire are being invited to bid for grants from a new fund designed to encourage more people to travel by public transport.

The Let’s Connect Communities fund will support innovative grass roots projects that emphasise the potential of public transport to make positive connections between communities by bringing people together.

These could include a special group trip by train, work on a sustainable travel project, developing a walking programme, improving a local rail station or producing artwork promoting active travel and the local railway.

Community Rail Lancashire and Connecting East Lancashire are spearheading the new project, which is jointly funded by Community Rail Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire County Council.

The total funding available is £16,000 and each organisation/community group can apply for up to £3,000 each. Any community organisation, community rail partnership, Friends of Stations, local charity, CIC or group that has a bank account and is based in Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale can apply.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate the impact on the community and how it will help promote sustainable travel, access or wayfinding to and from local train stations.

The funding can be used to deliver projects like youth work, mental health services, art projects, support for the elderly, BAME projects, LGBTQ+ groups, education, disability support, local empowerment.

Members of the CRL team may be able to support some applications with administrative expertise and match funding – especially if rail travel or schools form part of your proposed project.

Melanie Taylor, project officer at Blackburn with Darwen Council said: “The Let’s Connect Communities fund is available to support projects that will effectively promote the use of public transport, in particular the local rail network in East Lancashire.  I am very excited to see what imaginative and creative projects are suggested and to see the impact projects will have on the people who will deliver them and the joy the projects will bring to local people and communities who will benefit from them.”

Richard Watts, Chair of Community Rail Lancashire said: “Local groups have lots of good ideas but not always the means to make them happen. So CRL, in partnership with Connecting East Lancashire, is launching Let’s Connect Communities, a fund which will support transport related projects across East Lancashire. We look forward to receiving imaginative applications that help bring communities together.”

Testimonial from Brave Church, who secured a grant from last year’s fund, demonstrating, the impact the grant had on one person:

“I have not been on a train for 27 years. I recently had to stop driving due to my health issues. It meant I felt stuck at home. I heard about the buddy scheme and decided I would see if I had the confidence to come to the events at Brave by using the train. It was ace, and now I go all over and have got a rail discount card.”


To find out more and get the application pack email: or click the links here tp download: Guidance Notes or Application Form. The closing date for bids is Friday, March 17 2023 and applications should be emailed to: with ‘Let’s Connect Communities’ in the subject field.