All schemes will need some resources behind them to enable them to function, although these may not necessarily always be financial. Often, volunteers’ time, donations, use of vehicles, gifts in kind and local expertise will be just as valuable.
If you are applying for grants you need to show that you have done your homework – that yours is a well researched, cost-effective scheme that will meet identified local needs. Make sure that you have prepared budgets, to cover one-off start-up costs as well as the on-going costs of keeping the service running. Check with similar schemes that your budgets are realistic – you don’t want to have to go back to funders to ask for more money because you under-estimated your costs. Some funders will be more willing to fund one-off start-up costs – and more reluctant to provide funding for running costs in the longer term.
Ideally, income from passengers will cover most of your on-going costs. Fares need to be set at realistic levels – too low and you will struggle to make ends meet – too high and you may discourage people from using your service.
Where can I apply for funding?
- Hampshire County Council for grants to voluntary and community organisations. On this site you will find information about the various grant funds at the Council along with advice on how to apply for a grant and who to talk to for help with your application.
- Most Councils of Voluntary Service (see below) offer a ‘search for funding’ service. They can help you identify grant-making bodies that offer grants for your type of scheme.
- The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) gives out millions of pounds from the National Lottery for good causes. In particular the ‘Awards for All’ programme aims to help improve local communities and the lives of people most in need. It is a simple small grants scheme making awards of between £300 and £10,000. For larger revenue funding (£10,000 to £500,000), the 'Reaching Communities: England' funding is available. The funding committee have recently identified rural isolation as an area they would like to fund more of and is especially keen to see more applications for community transport projects in rural areas. For more information visit the Big Lottery Fund (see below).
- Set-up grants for Voluntary Car Schemes are available from the Good Neighbour Support Service (see below).
- Grants to support Voluntary Car Schemes and other small-scale transport initiatives are available from Hampshire County Council
- Funding may also be available from your District or Borough Council either through your scheme or measure being placed on the Transport Contributions Policy List or the Community Forum Process. Contact your District or Borough Council for further details (see below).
Some funders require organisations to provide ‘match funding’ for any grant they provide. If you are needing to raise money, a variety of fundraising schemes can be found on the IdeasFundraising website (see below).
An alternative to fundraising can be to ask for assistance with various parts of operating a scheme. For example, asking a company to cover the printing costs of your leaflets, in exchange for publicity.
Documents and Web Links
- Hampshire’s Councils of Voluntary Service (CVSs) support and advise voluntary and community groups in their District/Borough.
- The Good Neighbour Support Service is an ‘umbrella body’ that supports and advises many of Hampshire’s voluntary car schemes.
- Voluntary Car Schemes Grants are available from Hampshire County Council for those schemes running a deficit.
- Contact your local District or Borough Council to find out if funding for transport schemes is available.
- The Big Lottery Fund gives out millions of pounds from the National Lottery for good causes.
- IdeasFundraising is a good source of fundraising ideas