Grant for Calshot minibus
Friday, 25 January 2013
Calshot residents are set to benefit from a new accessible minibus thanks to a top-up grant from Hampshire County Council.
The local military unit at Marchwood, supported by Fawley Parish Council, has already successfully applied to the Armed Forces Community Covenant Fund for a grant to cover the cost of a new standard minibus. Now the County Council has stepped in with a top-up grant of £9,000 from its Community Transport Budget so that an accessible minibus can be purchased instead. Having an accessible minibus with a rear power lift and removable seating (so wheelchairs can be more easily accommodated) means that a wider section of the community are able to use the minibus.
The minibus will mainly serve the isolated Calshot area in Fawley parish, helping to support the military families living there, but will also provide services to the wider community so that the vehicle is used to its maximum potential and benefits the largest number of people locally.
Fawley Parish Council will maintain the minibus as one of its pool vehicles and will also recruit and manage a small team of trained volunteer drivers. Income generated will be reinvested in the vehicle';s upkeep. The County Council will provide help and advice on setting up the scheme through the Community Transport team, and volunteer drivers will also be found via the countywide Volunteer Driver Recruitment Campaign (call the Hampshire Volunteer Centre Network on 0844 499 4088 for more information).
Councillor Mel Kendal, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council said:
"We have been able to continue our support for the armed services through this local project which will help to strengthen ties with the wider community in which they live. I am aware that Calshot has limited facilities and this support assists the area's evening transport links. This service will give local residents more freedom to use community services such as youth clubs, doctors' surgeries and pre-school, shopping and leisure facilities.
"Hampshire County Council has a long established tradition of helping community transport provision in the County. In this case we provided a letter of support for Fawley's application to the Community Covenant Scheme in which we indicated we would be willing to consider a grant to enable the purchase of an accessible minibus as opposed to a standard vehicle, as we believed this would have benefits for the whole local community."