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Welcome to the Customer and Communities Improvement Fund

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Welcome to the Customer and Communities Improvement Fund

The CrossCountry Customer & Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) is designed to support projects that have a tangible community benefit or address an area of social need across our network. Funding is available each year commencing April 2022 to invest in community projects.

CCIF allows you communities and stakeholders to identify and develop schemes that can make a real difference to the communities we serve.

These are then reviewed by the Department for Transport, who decide which schemes go ahead. This document includes everything you need to know about the type of schemes we’re looking for, how to apply and who to contact should you have any queries.

General Advice

You can bid for funding for any project that addresses a social or community need across the CrossCountry network. Applications will be judged against several criteria; and later we describe what we are looking for as well as the process for submitting a proposal. Successful bids can come from a wide range of schemes and activities, from diversity and outreach projects helping to open rail travel to more communities, through to refurbishment projects that will improve the customer experience. An intrinsic aspect of CCIF is that it is designed, to support schemes that have a tangible community benefit, address an area of social need, and are not for commercial gain. A good CCIF scheme then should:

• Show clear evidence of how it will address an area of community or social need and show a clear link to the CrossCountry network, in line with our Customer and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy.
• Demonstrate a clear level of community engagement, through offering clear evidence of meeting an issue identified by the community.
• Set out clear plans for delivering the project, with accurate costs, timescales, how the project will be managed and where appropriate assurances about any consents or permissions needed from other organisations

The CCIF programme only offers funding for schemes over an initial two-year period, and so any schemes that require ongoing funding will need to show how they will do this after the CCIF funding has been used. Match funding is an important part of many projects, and we welcome applicants who are able to utilise other funding, especially confirmed. However, we are aware that not all schemes are able to generate match funding, and this should not deter bidders from submitting schemes that have a clear social need and have demonstrated a high level of community engagement.

What type of applications are we looking for?

We welcome a wide range of applications; the list below identifies some of the types of schemes we are looking for. However, a scheme has to demonstrate clearly how it links with the CrossCountry network and the communities we serve. The key criteria are listed below:



Customer Experience

Schemes that improve the customer experience e.g. station enhancements, provision of information or re-opening of disused buildings

Rail Recovery

Does the scheme support the recovery of revenue demand back to rail?

Education and employability skills amongst marginalised groups

Does the scheme connect people with jobs/new opportunities?

Diversity and inclusion

Does the scheme attract different types of people to the railway use our services or work with us?

Social mobility

Does the scheme help address social inequality?


Does the scheme make the railway more accessible?


Is there a clear environmental benefit? Does the scheme encourage better integrated journeys to and from stations using sustainable transport modes?

We will welcome all creative ideas and solutions. Although CCIF is designed to support projects that have been identified by communities across our network, it may be that as part of our ongoing work and day-to-day operation we are already working on such projects. So, if you have an idea in mind, we would be delighted to hear from you.

What we are not looking for

CCIF cannot fund work that we are already committed to deliver as part of our Operating Contract Franchise Agreement (OCFA) with the Department for Transport or as part of our day-to-day operation. You can apply using an online application form, which will be available when the applications process opens on 11th July 2022. Please note that applications must be submitted by 12th September 2022.You can access the application form here.

Similarly, as CIF is intended to support projects which, generally, would not meet normal commercial criteria, ideas such as installation of ticket machines, commercial offers or other methods of generating direct revenue benefits to CrossCountry cannot receive any CCIF funding. Equally, CCIF is not available to fund feasibility studies into new stations or new services, as either these are being undertaken as part of our OCFA or have other dedicated funding avenues to support such schemes. Unfortunately, CCIF cannot support day-to-day resourcing of community organisations.

How to apply

You can apply using an easy to complete application form, which will be available when the applications process opens on 11th July 2022. You can download the application form here.

Please refer to the guidance in this document when applying to ensure you can submit the strongest possible bids before emailing your completed application form to [email protected]

What happens next

We invite applications from 11th July 2022 to 12th September 2022, when you can download an application form here.

After the closing date, CrossCountry will review all applications and may contact applicants if there is a need to clarify and of the details. A CCIF Review Group comprising of CrossCountry Regional Directors and Senior Managers will carry out an impartial review and assessment process, to classify all schemes in the following way:

• The scheme is one of CrossCountry’s preferred CCIF bids for the current year, and we may have a few further questions which we would like you to answer relating to your application.
• The scheme has potential; however, we have some reservations and would like you to answer some further questions before we can consider the scheme’s potential for this year.
• The scheme is unsuccessful in this year’s CCIF programme, and we will be in touch as soon as possible to give you detailed feedback as to why we have not opted to progress the proposal.

The preferred projects will then be submitted to the Department for Transport for their final approval by December 2022. Following final approval of the CCIF programme of schemes, which can take up to three calendar months, we will provide more detailed feedback on individual bids and inform successful applicants within seven days of approval being granted by the Department for Transport.


If you have any further queries about the application process and general questions about CCIF, please contact our dedicated CCIF inbox: [email protected].

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