Strathclyde Partnership for Transport’s (SPT) pioneering community transport efforts received a financial boost recently. SPT’s Operations Committee approved match funding of £60,000, in addition to a £119,329 Scottish Government grant. This investment will allow the organisation’s vital work in the field to progress at pace.
The funding will create jobs in the community transport sector and create training opportunities for volunteer drivers. The Volunteer Training Programme for drivers provides access to vital training that might otherwise not be available and without qualified volunteers the community transport sector would be under severe threat.
The programme will focus on providing training opportunities to those who are long-term unemployed, looking for a career change, returning to the workplace or young people looking to learn new skills.
This funding will also enable SPT to further develop its Community Transport Public Social Partnership, which involves public bodies working closely with third sector organisations in the design of demand responsive transport models than can be developed, trialled and ultimately delivered.
SPT Vice Chair Denis McKenna said:
“I’m delighted that funding has been confirmed so that the great work this project promises to deliver can push on.
“The role of community transport is changing. Public sector budgets are reducing and the commercial bus market is rapidly shrinking. Local communities are relying on the community transport sector now more than ever to access employment, healthcare and other essential services.
“As the local transport authority, we want to encourage and empower community transport to provide these vital services. This is an excellent example of how the public and third sectors can work together to deliver services that are more responsive to people’s needs and better value.”
“It is also great to see the funding being used to tackle a number of social and economic issues. It will not only help bolster the third sector and address transport problems but it will also give people new skills and create jobs, creating even more value for the wider community.”
SPT’s demand responsive MyBus service, which caters to thousands of passengers unable to make use of public transport, is a key feature of the project. The service has become a lifeline for many local communities and, as such, the Community Transport sector is ideally placed to work alongside SPT to assist in the design and delivery of this service.