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Northern extends deadline for £250,000 accessibility scheme

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Northern has extended the deadline for a £250,000 scheme launched last month to enhance accessibility and improve train travel for all. Applications will now be taken up until Tuesday, 3 January 2023.

The Northern Accessibility Innovation Scheme is dedicated to opening opportunities for disabled and older people on the Northern network and Northern is seeking proposals from organisations, stakeholders, community groups and charities on specific projects that will make a positive difference to communities across the north of England. 

The £250,000 programme will be awarded across a number of categories with one project receiving £100,000, several schemes receiving £50,000 and other proposals each receiving a maximum of £10k. 

Mark Powles, customer and commercial director at Northern said: “We are dedicated to making Northern’s services accessible to everyone, and to playing a role in improving the communities along our routes. We want to hear suggestions for how we can continue to do this.    

“I am delighted that for the second year running we have been able to provide a quarter of a million pounds to our Accessibility Innovation Scheme, which will consider a wide range of proposals involving our trains and stations and will have a positive impact for the north.”  

“The fund is part of our wider project to transform our network, giving all our customers a rail service fit for the 21st Century.” 

Following on the Accessibility Fund in 2020/21, the scheme will once again be led and overseen by the Northern Accessibility User Group (NAUG). This is the second year of Northern’s innovation scheme and in the last 12 months numerous schemes have been delivered and are improving access for all across West and South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. 

The improvements have been delivered in partnership with local authorities, community rail partnerships and charities and include: 

  • A pilot scheme at Buxton station to improve station signage for those who are suffering from dementia
  • An initiative to to reduce social isolation and improve the wellbeing of people living in the region, by supporting them to access their local train services
  • Tactile wayfinding for people with visual impairments
  • Virtual 360° tours of Manchester Victoria and Blackburn stations

Northern are providing administrative support and railway expertise, working side by side with NAUG to ensure the success of the initiative.  NAUG is a pan disability user group whose membership represents a very wide range of disabilities on a personal basis and from the perspective of disability groups and organisations reflecting the communities served by Northern 

Ideas for the 2023 scheme could include innovations that make train travel simpler and easier, raise awareness of rail services or encourage people to travel for the first time by train. Other applications could include how information is presented at stations or the facilities provided.    

Applications can be submitted via the Northern website

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until Tuesday, 3 January 2023, with judging and awards taking place soon after.

Image credit: Northern

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