Schools and community groups are set to benefit from £2m for minibuses. The money is from the second round of the community minibus fund, which has recently been launched by Transport Minister, Andrew Jones. The first round of the fund has already been allocated to over 300 charities and community groups across England. It will pay for more than 350 minibuses. Andrew Jones announced the funding in Market Harborough, where he handed over keys to a new minibus to Harborough Community Bus, one of the successful bidders. The vehicle will allow them to provide transport services for elderly residents, people with disabilities and those who do not have access to commercial bus services.
The winners from across the country will each receive a nine to 16 seat minibus specifically tailored to their requirements, such as disability friendly access and adapted seating. The second round of funding, which opens today and closes on 2 December 2016 will be managed by the Community Transport Association (CTA), who will provide advice to all bidders. Information on the application process, including an application form and detailed guidance on eligibility, can be found on the CTA’s website.
Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said, ‘Community transport is vitally important in helping get people to hospitals, towns and shops, as well as supporting employment and education. It is particularly important in rural and isolated areas, helping thousands of people across the country get on and get around. This fund is making an enormous difference to organisations, like Harborough Community Bus enabling them to help people participate in local life.’
Community Transport Association Chief Executive, Bill Freeman, said, ‘The first round of funding for community minibuses has strengthened the ability of community transport providers to provide accessible and inclusive transport, improving the everyday lives of people across England. This second round provides a welcome boost for communities across England and we look forward to supporting operators who are planning to apply for part of the £2m funding.’