CrossCountry supports 15 students with £15k boost for Edinburgh charity

  • Train operator CrossCountry has supported Upmo, Edinburgh-based charity supporting adults with learning disabilities and autism, over the last year.
  • A £15,500 donation has given students the chance to develop a range of new skills, confidence and social networks.
  • The support comes from CrossCountry’s Customer and Community Improvement Fund, which supports a range of charity and community projects across the country.

Long-distance train operator CrossCountry is celebrating the results of a pioneering partnership project with Edinburgh charity Upmo after a year-long funding period came to an end last month.

Upmo (short for ‘upward mobility’) help develop the skills and confidence of adults with learning disabilities in and around Edinburgh, through workshops and other support services.

The £15,500 donation from CrossCountry’s Customer and Community Improvement Fund has provided 15 students with the opportunity (including support and supervision) to work in their community cafés to gain hospitality and catering skills.

Six students also successfully undertook their REHIS (Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland) Introduction to Food and Health course with Edinburgh Community Food.

The train operator has also helped students to learn more about using trains and public transport by offering free familiarisation journeys on CrossCountry routes, with a chance to see how CrossCountry colleagues deliver great service to customers on board.

Earlier in the year, CrossCountry colleagues visited Upmo’s Drumbrae Café at Drumbrae Leisure Centre, to see how the donation has helped students working there.

Ben Simkin, Regional Director for CrossCountry’s North East & Scotland region, said: “It’s been fantastic to help Upmo support students to feel more comfortable and confident across Edinburgh – both on and off our trains.

“Our Customer and Communities Improvement Fund is a fantastic initiative that allows organisations to bid for funding to improve their local communities. I’d urge community organisations across our network to look out for the next round of funding and apply when they can.”

The success of the Upmo community cafés means there are now three cafés supporting students across Edinburgh – St. Margaret’s House Café, Leith Victoria Café and Drumbrae Café.

Claire Farquhar, Head of Operations at Upmo, said: “It’s been wonderful to have the support of CrossCountry to develop our community cafés and help students feel more comfortable about getting on the train. Upmo students had the opportunity to observe the catering team working on board the trains, and this gave them invaluable real life work experience which will help give improve their skills for moving on into employment in the future.

“We always value support from businesses and organisations working in Edinburgh and we look forward to working closely with CrossCountry again in the future.”

Across the country, a total of £94,885 was also awarded to a total of five charities as part of CrossCountry’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund.

More information about this year’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund will be announced soon. Find out more about previous years’ schemes here:

To read more about Upmo and their work in Edinburgh, visit:

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