Funding for island community transport operators

Transport Minister Keith Brown this week announced that grants totalling £1 million are being offered to twenty-nine third sector community transport operators including STARAN, Tagsa Uibhist Community Services and Voluntary Action Barra and Vatersay in the Western Isles.

The successful organisations will receive a share of the funding from this year’s Community Transport Vehicle Fund.

The one-off fund has been set up to assist community transport operators and to replace older vehicles or expand their services.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “I am delighted by the amount of interest in the Community Transport Vehicle Fund and I would like to congratulate the successful applicants.

“This one-off fund will provide much-needed financial assistance to operators who run these vital services, of particular value to remote communities and vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.

“The Scottish Government recognises the important role that community transport services play as part of the transport network in Scotland and that they play a major part in reducing isolation and increasing social inclusion.

“During the course of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee’s inquiry into the sector last year, the need for funding to replace ageing vehicles was identified as a particular concern, and I am pleased that we have been able to help address it in this way.”

Applicants to the fund have received support and advice from both the Community Transport Association (CTA) and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

John Macdonald, director of the Community Transport Association, said: “This investment is a welcome boost for a wide range of community organisations across Scotland who need to replace well used vehicles which are close to the end of their useful working life. It enables them to continue with their vital work of providing mobility and access to services for thousands of people who have limited or no alternative means of getting around.”

John Downie, director of public affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “It’s really exciting that we have identified the organisations which will benefit from the Community Transport Vehicle Fund. This is going to provide a massive boost to community transport provision right across Scotland and help more people to keep active in their communities and live independently at home.”