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SVR Charitable Trust

What a year that was!


In 2020, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to keep the Railway ticking over during lockdown and fund essential emergency track work at Sterns to enable our reopening after the first lockdown in August2020. We’ve also funded a whole host of other projects on the Railway from rolling stock to exhibitions – and in the face of adversity, we’ve completed the restoration of Falling Sands Viaduct; combating roosting bats, bees, and Covid-19 with three national lockdowns, and the floods at the beginning of 2020!

We look forward to returning to “normal” running, in the not-too-distant future, when we’ll be able to welcome many more visitors to our beloved Railway and its shops, cafes and pubs.

The SVR Charitable Trust continues to be heads down, working in the background to raise more funds, to cushion the blow of the £4.5 million the Railway has lost in income last year.

We quickly launched our Fight Back Fund in March 2020 and thanks to our individual donors like you, as well as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and many smaller grant-making bodies, we raised over £2.2 million.  These donations helped to fund essential engineering and operational costs during lockdown, and to plan and deliver Covid-safe excursion trips for our August 2020 reopening.  In addition, the funds will improve our security, our fire detection and our communications to the 1,700 volunteer-led workforce as well as our visitors.

The Charitable Trust also funded £1.2 million of other projects in the year, thanks to the generosity of our supporters like you, who chose to give a regular or single gift, or the growing number of long-standing supporters who have left the ultimate gift, a legacy in their Will. In fact, donations from Wills now represent 40% of our income.  We thank you, and remember those SVR donors who have sadly passed away.


If you always wanted to know why the Railway needs a Charitable Trust, or what the Charitable Trust actually does, or indeed how you can get involved with us, then look no further – the answers are here.

If there’s something we haven’t covered, please give us a call on 01562 757940. Or check out our website at

Why does the SVR need a Charitable Trust?

This is something many people ask, especially when the Railway takes in a healthy income from ticket sales, and from its shops, cafes and pubs. The fact is that while this income does indeed cover the day-to-day running costs of the Railway, a great deal more funding is needed to pay for the immense and never-ending task of maintaining and restoring the SVR’s extensive rolling stock, infrastructure and permanent way.  And this is precisely why the SVR Charitable Trust was created in 2012; to help fund restoration and maintenance projects, to help arrest the decline of heritage engineering skills, to safeguard the long-term future and operational capability of the Railway and to fund education offerings at the SVR including exhibitions and interpretation. As well as seeking donations from individuals and companies, the Charitable Trust makes applications to various organisations and grant-making bodies, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, for the substantial sums that are required to meet the SVR’s ongoing restoration needs.

How is the Charitable Trust helping the Railway?

  • It funds major infrastructure projects, locomotive and carriage restoration works.

  • It funds the majority of the costs of the SVR’s Heritage Apprenticeship Scheme, in which our team of apprentices are acquiring essential engineering skills to keep the Railway in good shape for the future. To help us do this make a single or regular gift on our website.

  • The Charitable Trust is working towards a £10 million balance for its endowment Future Fund, with the pot reaching over £1.7 million to date. Income from this endowment will allow sustainable investment on the Railway in the years to come. To make a donation  online click here and chose “Future Fund” from the drop down menu.

  • We work with supporters to ensure their wishes are kept when they decide to leave a final legacy to the Railway in their Will. Currently donations in Wills forms over 40% of the Trust’s income. To view more details visit our website.

Support on projects

In the last five years, the Charitable Trust has already given £4.7 million to the SVR. It has made a significant contribution in all these areas:

  • Infrastructure – contributing £1.3 million to the project to restore the Falling Sands Viaduct, with £397,000 from donations and securing over £900,000 of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

  • Locomotive Restoration – providing 75% of the £1 million needed to get the SVR’s flagship loco, 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’, back into steam.

  • Track Re-laying – costing £120,000 per half mile - the Trust has funded over £285,000 of Permanent Way projects

  • Carriage Restoration – the Trust has given £403,000 towards carriage and wagon restoration, including the GWR project 9581 ‘access for all’ wheelchair accessible buffet carriage – believed to be the first of its kind.

  • Diesel Depot Equipment – investing £31,000 to keep the heritage diesel fleet on track

  • Apprentice Training – funding 14 apprentices who have either graduated or are in training

  • Education – providing £10,000 of funding for the Anderson Shelter and Outdoor Classroom

  • Future-proofing the Railway – the Charitable Trust’s Endowment Fund which currently stands at £1.5 million aims to raise up to £10 million for future investment in the Railway to give security for the future.

  • Fight Back Fund – this emergency appeal to combat the impact of Covid-19 on the Railway, was initiated by the Trust and raised over £903,000 to keep the Railway viable during the pandemic

  • A Commemorative Garden at Highley has been established, where visitors can remember their loved ones, and reflect on their association with the Railway.


What’s the benefit of donating to the Railway through the Charitable Trust?

Because the Trust has charitable status, if you’re a taxpayer and make a donation to the Railway through us, the Charitable Trust may be able to claim back Gift Aid from HMRC. This means that for every £10 you donate, the Trust may be able to receive a further £2.50 from the Revenue. It costs you nothing extra, but adds considerably to the value of your donation.


Who else does the Charitable Trust get help from?

We have a number of major donors; individuals who give substantial financial support to the Railway through the Charitable Trust. We also apply to many grant-making organisations such as National Lottery Heritage Fund. And we engage with companies and businesses who pay to be members of our Corporate Partnership Club.



How can I get involved in shaping the work and future of the Charitable Trust?

If you would like to get more involved in how the Charitable Trust is run, then we’d like to hear from you. We look for people from across the Railway to become Members of the Charitable Trust and act as a ‘sounding board’ for our Trustees and senior executive. We look for a wide range of working members, apprentices, rolling stock owners, supporters and people who have responsibility and expertise on the SVR’s infrastructure or permanent way. We also welcome representatives from external organisations. We see all these individuals and organisations as SVR stakeholders, who can help to shape the direction and focus of the Charitable Trust.

Trust Membership costs £10 a year and is  subject to Board approval. As a Member you will be invited to attend our Annual General Meeting. For  further  information on becoming an SVR Charitable Trust member, please email: ​


Shelagh Paterson, Director of Development

Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd

Last updated 23rd February 2021

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