Transport Minister Andrew Jones visited a family-owned Derbyshire company to hand over the keys for 2 new bespoke minibuses that will be used by voluntary organisations to help the elderly and disabled.
Minibus Options, in High Peak, is delivering nearly 200 specially adapted vehicles for organisations across England as part of the Department for Transport’s £25 million community minibus fund. The fund also helps those without access to a commercial bus service by linking them to medical services, shops and social events.
West Lancashire Dial-a-Ride Association, based in Burscough, and Easy-Go CT Stockport received the new vehicles during the minister’s visit last Friday (26 February 2016).
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:
Voluntary transport organisations are a key part of the communities they serve. I am proud we are helping improve the everyday lives of people across the country with our £25 million community minibus fund, which provides these organisations with new vehicles to support their vital work.
Our support means the expertise and craftsmanship of this family-owned Derbyshire supplier is delivering minibuses that are specially adapted for each organisation’s needs.
Overall, more than 300 local charities and community groups across England will receive new minibuses by the end of 2016.
Bill Freeman, Chief Executive of the Community Transport Association said:
It’s clear that the community transport minibus fund is already having a significant impact on the community transport sector. Members have told us how their new minibus will enable them to provide vital inclusive and accessible transport to their communities and, as Minibus Options take on the contract to deliver these vehicles, we are confident that each minibus will give our members the means to make an even bigger difference in their communities.
Philip Walker, manager of West Lancashire Dial-a-Ride who received a new minibus from the minister during the visit, said:
I was handed the keys by Andrew Jones and was impressed by his assurance of government support for the work of the community transport sector. I think it was good, too, that I was able to assure him that the funding represented by this new minibus would be out on the road, changing lives in our communities in just a few days’ time.
Minibus Options was the successful bidder for the government contract in January 2016.
West Lancashire Dial-a-Ride Association provides community transport services to residents of West Lancashire who find it difficult to use public transport. Andrew Jones also handed keys for a new bespoke vehicle during the visit to Minibus Options to Easy-Go CT Stockport who provide safe, accessible and affordable community transport for 100 residents and nearly 70 groups in Stockport who find it difficult or impossible to use public transport because of frailty or disability and their location.