The Department for Transport created the £25 million Community Transport Minibus Fund in December 2014 with the purpose of supplying new minibuses for not-for-profit community transport operators in England. The first round of funding saw more than 300 charities and community groups receive minibuses, with many successful applications from operators in the South West.

The second round of funding, worth £2 million, is now open to applications. One minibus will be awarded to each successful proposals. Requests for proposals that will serve rural areas will be prioritised. The funding is available 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. This round of funding will broadly follow the two-phase structure of the first round:

o Stage 1 – to identify organisations that meet the required terms of the fund and assess their application for a new vehicle. Information will be requested on the use of the vehicle and the types of people served by the organisations;
o Stage 2 – procurement of the vehicles, taking account of the needs of the organisation, seeking the best value for money possible by collective purchasing where appropriate.

To be eligible, applicants must:

o Be an established organisation using a recognised not-for-profit legal form, such as a charitable incorporated organisation, charitable company (limited by guarantee) or community interest company, and able to demonstrate that they are running a service to benefit the community;
o Be a registered charity or other not-for-profit entity;
o Have a Section 19 permit;
o Use the vehicle provided for voluntary services only and not to compete for tendered contracts let by public sector bodies; and
o Ensure that the money paid to their organisation by public sector bodies does not exceed the de minimis State Aid limit (€200,000, approximately £160,000) in a rolling three-year period.

The following organisations will be favourably scored:

o Educational organisations that provide a role in education outside of traditional ‘classroom learning, such as activity centres for disabled young people, or organisations who support adult learning etc;
o Organisations serving rural areas.

The following are not eligible for funding:

o Organisations that received funding from Round One;
o Organisations running for-profit transport services;
o Organisations that do not have a permit under section 19 of the Transport Act 1985.

A minibus will be provided for voluntary community transport services only.

Applicants will be able to indicate on the application form what type of vehicle is required. This could include, for example, a vehicle with wheelchair space and special equipment requirements. Applications will be accepted from 8 September to 5pm on Friday 2 December 2016.

Organisations should email their completed application form to the Community Transport Association along with the following documentation:

o A copy of their governing instrument (eg, constitution, memorandum of articles and association, etc.);
o A copy of their most recent audited annual accounts;
o A supporting statement from a stakeholder in their organisation, for example, local authority, regional transport partnership, health board, etc;
o A copy of their Section 19 permit.

For further information visit the Community Transport Association (CTA) website or contact them via post, phone or email at The Community Transport Association, Aeroworks, 5 Adair Street, Manchester M1 2NQ. 0161 351 1475.  minibusfund@ctauk.org

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