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New partnership between Railway Industry Association and the Railway Benefit Fund announced for 2024


6 February 2024


The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has announced the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) as its Charity of The Year for 2024.

The RBF provides assistance, advice, and support to current, former, and retired railway staff and their dependents across the UK. Established in 1858, the charity offers a range of services including financial grants, confidential advice, and a legal helpline among others. The RBF’s overarching mission is to deliver customised support to railway people and their families, improving the lives of current and former workers, wherever they are in rail.

Over the past five years, demand for their services has more than tripled. In 2023:

  • An existing or former railway employee approached RBF every 4 minutes
  • RBF supported over 1,000 railway families with direct financial support
  • 65% of grants awarded were for those who currently work in rail
  • Nearly 70% of applicants are under 50 years old, with an increased prevalence of those in their 20’s

RIA will be taking part in the ‘Station to Station’ challenge as part of RBF’s Railway Family Week. This involves taking on a step challenge which equates to a 2000-mile route around Great Britain, calling at 23 stations, over 3 weeks.

Jo Kaye, Chief Executive of the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF), said: “We are delighted that RIA have chosen the Railway Benefit Fund as their Charity of the Year for 2024. Their support will be crucial to us as a small charity, enabling us to meet the rising demand for our services, and raising awareness of the work we do within the rail supply community. We look forward to attending RIA’s events throughout the year and networking with their members.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The Railway Benefit Fund plays a hugely important role in supporting current, former and retired railway people and their families across the UK. The Railway Industry Association is proud that the RBF is our Charity of the Year for 2024 and we look forward to working with Jo and her team in promoting the charity and its work among RIA members.”

For more information contact [email protected] or visit

Notes to Editors
  1. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 350+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £43 billion in economic growth and £14 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 710,000 people. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK; for every £1 spent in rail, £2.50 is generated in the wider economy. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). 
  2. About Unlocking Innovation Programme: The Railway Industry Association’s Unlocking Innovation programme is aimed at promoting innovations and new developments within the sector. Through a series of events, articles, thought leadership reports and industry surveys, the programme seeks to understand the challenges innovators face, provide clarity for routes to market and connect individuals with ideas and the ability to make changes. Unlocking Innovation events are the centrepiece of the programme, bringing railway clients and suppliers together to share the latest innovations in the market and engage with academic institutions. This allows for a better understanding of research and development pipelines and opportunity to learn about funding and accelerator opportunities to bring innovations into the market. 
  3. Network Rail RD&I Portfolio: Research, development and innovation (RD&I) plays a vital role in unlocking opportunities in Network Rail and the wider rail sector to improve safety, reduce cost and achieve net zero, to improve the customer experience and to deliver a more sustainable railway system for future generations. 
  4. UKRRIN: The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) is designed to create powerful collaboration between academia and industry, aiming to provide a step-change in innovation in the sector and accelerate new technologies and products from research into market applications globally. The initiative was built on the development of three Centres of Excellence formed by a consortium of universities, in collaboration with existing industry testing and trialling facilities and Network Rail. Some £92m of total funding was committed to the centres by the UK Government and leading industrial partners. 
  5. Telent Technology Services: Telent is a leading technology company and specialist in the design, build, support and management of the UK’s critical digital infrastructure, drawing on decades of experience in mission critical communications and technology. With a strong focus on key customer areas including transport, emergency services, network providers and the public sector, Telent’s expertise, accreditations and knowledge make them a trusted partner for organisations at the forefront of the digital revolution. 
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