New scheme will help voluntary organisations provide vital services
- New fund means organisations which already provide not-for-profit service to the local community can bid for a mini-bus
- Smaller operators and those in rural areas will be favoured in the scheme
- Each bidder can apply for one vehicle to be used for voluntary services
Charities in rural areas are to receive hundreds of new minibuses as part of a £25 million deal announced today by the Government.
The scheme will support voluntary organisations providing vital services for people in country communities with limited transport options.
The new fund means organisations that already provide a not-for-profit service to the local community can bid for a minibus.
Smaller operators and those who help out in rural areas will be favoured in the scheme.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, MP for the Derbyshire Dales, who announced the scheme said: ‘As a rural MP I know how important community bus providers are and how much they matter. These groups help keep rural communities alive and independent.
‘We want to do all we can to support local voluntary operators who help out in these areas. This large amount of money is to help those who already do so much to support their community.’
Community Transport Association chief executive Bill Freeman said: ‘This is good news for community transport.
'Our own research shows that many organisations, particularly smaller ones serving their immediate neighbourhoods, struggle to put aside money to replace vehicles.’
‘This will come as welcome news to them, and will enable them to continue to improve the lives of many vulnerable and isolated people by offering them accessible and affordable transport.’
Each bidder can apply for one vehicle and will need to undertake that the vehicle will be used only for voluntary services and will not be used to compete for bus service contracts.