London North Eastern Railway (LNER) have opened their Customer and Community Investment Fund (CCIF) to applications from communities, customers and charities along the route from London to Edinburgh.

CCIF supports projects where there is an identified social need, that focus on mental health, education and employability skills in marginalised groups. Such groups must be located within 15 miles of the rail route and promote diversity and inclusion as well as environmental sustainability. Applications must be made by 31 July 2022.

The fund supported Edinburgh’s Carr Gomm with a grant of £30,000 to fund Men in Sheds in Craigmillar. This project creates a space for men to tackle feelings of isolation, improve confidence, encourage positive lifestyle changes and forge friendships.

Helena Richards, Edinburgh Community Projects Manager at Carr Gomm, said: “The help we’ve received from LNER’s fund has been invaluable, enabling us to update equipment such as laptops. It has also allowed us to buy new equipment for the men to enjoy, and this has been greatly appreciated by all.

“From the point of application to delivery we’ve had such a positive experience and the communications and support from LNER along the way has been excellent.”

A user of Men in Sheds, John attends the group three times a week. He said: “After losing my close friends and many of family through them passing, I felt isolated and would struggle to meet people or have a routine to get me out of the house. Attending Men in Sheds has been fantastic – I’ve met new friends and developed woodwork skills I never thought would be possible in my sixties.”

Details of the fund and applications available here:

www.lner.co.uk/about-us/customer-and-community-investment-fund