RURAL CHARITIES URGED TO APPLY FOR COMMUNITY TRANSPORT MINIBUS FUND
Hundreds of community transport organisations across the country are now being invited to apply to a new £25 million minibus fund to provide them with new minibuses. The Department for Transport has published full criteria for applying for the fund on 28 November 2014, and organisations across England can begin to prepare their applications. Community groups have until 15 January 2015 to apply, with early bids being welcomed.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:
Local voluntary transport providers give so much to their local area and our community minibus fund will help support their work further. This large fund will secure hundreds of minibuses and we are offering a long application time to give everyone a chance to apply.
I encourage community transport organisations across England to begin preparing their applications now so we can receive as many as possible.
The online application process will be available on the Department for Transport’s website from Monday 1 December 2014. The community transport minibus fund is focused on existing voluntary and third sector organisations that already have a permit to run not-for-profit services of benefit to the local community.
Smaller operators and those who help out in rural areas will be favoured in the scheme. Each bidder 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.
I am writing to provide details of the new £25 million Community Transport Minibus Fund I announced on 17 November. This fund will provide new minibuses for hundreds of community transport providers in the UK.
These providers lie at the heart of the local communities they serve – getting people to hospitals, towns and shops and supporting groups like the Guides and Scouts. They are particularly important in rural and isolated areas, helping people to get around and participate in local life.
We want to do all we can to support these operators who already do so much for their communities, with 50% entirely run by volunteers. That’s why we are committing this significant amount of money so they can bid for a new minibus to replace or expand their existing fleet. Priority will be given to smaller operators and those providing services in rural areas.
Bidding will be open to any community transport operator running not-for-profit services of benefit to their local community with one or more permits under section 19 of the Transport Act 1985.
I encourage you to submit your bid to the Department for Transport as soon as possible and before 15 January 2015.
THE RT. HON. PATRICK McLOUGHLIN