A new £1million community transport fund being jointly managed by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Community Transport Association (CTA) is opening for applicants to bid for funding today (Monday 2 December).

The one-off Scottish Government fund which is open to community and third sector organisations will help community transport operators buy new vehicles to expand their services or replace older vehicles.

John Downie, Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

“This an excellent step forward for more than 100,000 people right across Scotland for whom community transport is a vital lifeline to help them to attend important medical appointments and keep playing an active role in their communities. It will help more people to live independently in their own homes for longer and counteract some of the negative impact of welfare reforms, particularly on disabled people.

“We’re looking forward to seeing this funding be invested in Scotland’s community transport fleet and the big difference it will make to the lives of older people, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas who don’t have access to a car or public transport.”

John MacDonald, the CTA’s Director for Scotland, said:

“The Scottish Government’s investment will enable voluntary and community organisations, throughout Scotland, to sustain and grow their vital services for people who cannot access any mainstream transport services.

“This initiative was one of the main recommendations from the Scottish Parliament’s Inquiry into Community Transport and we are delighted that the Government has responded in such a positive manner.”

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“I’m delighted that the Community Minibus Fund is now open to applications and hope community transport groups take this opportunity to get involved.

“I’m well aware that funding for new vehicles is one of the main challenges facing the sector, so this will provide much-needed financial help to operators in the short-term.

“Many people rely on community transport to go about their everyday lives, from remote communities to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, and the Scottish Government is committed to helping operators continue to provide these vital services.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the national body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.5 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations. For more on SCVO see www.scvo.org.uk

2. The application process will close on the 31st January 2014. Results will be made available by the end of February 2014. The maximum amount of funding per vehicle is £50,000

3. John Downie, Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, is available for interview and comment

4. For more information contact Charlotte McNeill, Press Officer at SCVO, on 07790 601 995