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Northern is proud to be one of the country’s major businesses serving hundreds of communities and carrying over one hundred million customers every year. We recognise we can make a difference and we are committed to supporting better lives and improving communities across our whole network. We have therefore introduced our Customer and Community Improvement Fund (CCIF), which is now open for applications.

Our fund to help you

We are delighted to make available a Customer and Community Improvement Fund that applications can be made against for specific projects that will make a positive and long lasting difference to communities across the north of England. We’re currently looking for great nominations for schemes to be delivered between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2022 so if you have an idea that you think is worthy please read on.

What are we looking for?

Simply we’re looking for schemes or projects that will benefit the customers and the communities we serve across the north. The Customer and Community Improvement Fund will consider a wide range of proposals whether they involve our trains and stations or those that will bring benefit locally across our network (which is pretty much anywhere in the north of England but check our route map if you are not sure).

We’re open to your suggestions but we’re keen to hear about projects that would help address the following key areas:


We all have a responsibility to combat the challenges we face and we’d love to hear about projects that help to reduce ours and community impacts on the environment


Everyone has the right to travel independently and without stress or worry and we’d be delighted to review schemes that make our stations and services more accessible for all and those that include encouraging greater use of walking, cycling and other forms of public transport.

Safety and Security

Providing an environment, facilities and information that help customers feel safe and secure on or nearby our network

Inclusion and Positive Social Impact

As part of our wider sustainability commitments we are working to make our network more inclusive for people that, for whatever reason, may feel isolated or excluded from everyday life including access to employment, leisure and day to day services

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Helping to end the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Ultimately any scheme should benefit customers and / or communities so if you have a good idea or project that doesn’t seem to fit with the themes above please contact us to discuss it, it may still be worth applying – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For the 2020/21 year we’ll be looking for schemes of a maximum value of £200k, there will be no minimum value threshold. Values may change in future years.

Match funding isn’t an absolute requirement but will be looked at favourably, especially for schemes with a higher overall value.  Please note that Northern’s station adoption and seed corn funds should not be considered as match funding sources.

What won't fit the bill

We’re open to any great ideas but there are a few things that mean we wouldn’t be able to consider a project for funding. Successful schemes must not:

  • provide a commercial return to Northern
  • require ongoing funding
  • be feasibility studies into new services, new railway lines / routes or new stations.
  • be something we would be expected to deliver as part of our franchise obligations (we can advise if you’re not sure)

Schemes must be delivered within the identified time period, so anything with a delivery timescale beyond 24 months from 1 April 2020 (and subsequent years) would not be eligible.

Who can apply?

Pretty much anyone! We welcome applications from customers, stakeholders, community groups, charities, not for profit organisations and Northern colleagues.

I've got a great idea, how do I apply?

You need to complete our online application form. The form needs to be completed in one go, unfortunately you can’t save it and go back to it at a later date so we have a pdf example available here to help you make sure you have all the information ready that you will need.

If your project is for our stations or trains it may be we can help you with some of the information or application detail so please get in touch This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What happens next?

Applications are now open and will close at 23.59 on 22 January 2020.

All applications will be reviewed and assessed against the criteria above. A review panel will collate a list of recommended schemes to take forward.

At the end of January, we’ll send the list to Rail North Partnership (the organisation that manages our franchise on behalf of Department for Transport and Transport for the North) for final approval.

Funding awards or implementation of successful schemes (if delivered by Northern) will begin from 1 April 2020.

We will do our best to notify all applicants at the earliest opportunity whether their application has been successful or not. If you have any concerns or questions you can contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Applications are now closed