Issue details

Budget allocation of additional rural services delivery grant

 

To agree the approach to allocating additional budget of £275k for 2019/20 towards additional support for local community transport initiatives and local solutions to maintain access in rural communities noting continuing financial pressures on support for the conventional bus network.

The details of the grant programme have been developed in the context of the 2017 passenger transport review which included extensive consultation and following discussion with local community transport providers. Criteria for accessing the grant will ensure that projects which will support older people, people with disabilities and rural residents without access to private car or public transport are prioritised.

The original decision to provide additional funding indicated that this should be to establish a grant for the purchase of new accessible vehicles for community transport providers. The recommendation is to support a broader range of projects and for it to be made available for a wider range of community groups, with community transport providers being given first opportunity to submit bids. This approach was developed following discussion with community transport providers during which they indicated that they could improve their services if the funding could be allocated for a broader range of activities including:

"           New vehicles for community transport use

"           Software to help plan journeys

"           Schemes to support access for young people

"           Initiatives to attract more volunteer drivers

"           Schemes which will feed into and support existing transport services

"           Scheme which use social media and smart technologies to increase access

"           Brokerage - making greater use of vehicles available in the local community

 

Whilst the proposed approach will give community transport providers the first opportunity to bid for grant funding it also allows for further rounds to be opened up to other community groups. This will be subject to funds being available after the first round. This is proposed as it reflects the findings of the passenger transport review that other community groups including parish councils and other local charities can play an important role in supporting local access and will add to the overall capacity of the grant programme.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 30/10/2019

Decision due: 30 January 2020 by Cabinet member Infrastructure and transport

Lead member: Cabinet member Infrastructure and transport

Lead director: Director of Economy and Place

Department: Economy and Place

Contact: Steve Burgess, Head of transport and access services Email: sburgess@herefordshire.gov.uk Tel: 01432260968.

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