Hundreds of rural charities are being urged to apply to a £25 million fund for new minibuses before time runs out.
Vital community groups from across the country will receive additional support from the fund, which will provide new vehicles to community transport operators in rural and isolated areas.
The scheme will support voluntary organisations as they provide services for people in rural communities with limited transport choices - but applications need to be made by 15 January 2015.
The new fund, announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin in November, means that organisations who already provide a 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.
Patrick McLoughlin said:
Voluntary operators who help out in rural areas provide vital support to vulnerable and isolated people. We want to do all we can to support them and this huge amount of money will help those who already do so much to help their community.
I want to ask all those organisations who may struggle to put aside money to come forward and apply for this funding so they can get the vehicles they need.
Operators do not need to have previously expressed an interest but are asked to submit an application to the fund by 15 January 2015.
The 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.
Each bidder can apply for 1 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.
This new scheme sits alongside the government’s strong commitment to commercial bus operators, which is a growing industry.
Organisations can apply for the fund. Any operators concerned about how to complete the application or their eligibility should contact the department on firstname.lastname@example.org or the Community Transport Association.
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