Funding of £3.4million from the Motability Foundation into rural community transport partnerships across the North, West and Mid-Ulster areas of Northern Ireland will enhance transport options for people with disabilities and mobility issues
Easilink Community Transport along with three Rural Community Transport Project Partners (CDM Community Transport, Fermanagh Community Transport and North Coast Community Transport) are thrilled to have been successful in securing £3.42 million of funding from the Motability Foundation through their ‘Community Transport Grant Programme’.
This project which is set to launch with a driver training programme in the coming weeks, will increase the quality of life for people living with disabilities, mobility issues and the elderly, by providing improved transport options across each respective area. The programme consists of 4 key strands: delivery of passenger trips to disability centred groups; investment in a fleet of 23 fit for purpose accessible mini-buses; a driver training and employment programme; and the establishment of a scheme to provide transport to regional hospital and health appointments.
Easilink Chief Executive, Claire Russell said: “As an organisation, we are delighted to be working with our partners to bring such a ground-breaking level of investment into the community and voluntary sector within the North-West area. The project will allow us to transform the accessible transport options available to both disabled individuals, the elderly and local organisations who exist to support those with a wide range of both seen and unseen disabilities.”
Claire goes on: “As a partnership group, we cannot thank the Motability Foundation enough for making such a significant contribution and investment to the lives of disabled people in the most rural and remote areas of Northern Ireland and we look forward to working with you going forward.”
Lisa Jones, Director of Charitable Operations at the Motability Foundation, comments on the grant award: “We’re delighted to award Easilink Community Transport with this grant to support rural community transport partnerships, so that disabled people across the North, West and Mid-Ulster areas of Northern Ireland have greater access to travel. Over the summer, I had the pleasure of using Easilink’s community bus and saw first-hand how the service is a lifeline to the passengers I met and many more!”
“Awarding grants to experienced organisations like Easilink, CDM, Fermanagh and North Coast Community Transport is the reason we launched our portfolio of impact programmes to support other charities and organisations to help make an immediate difference to the transport needs of disabled people.”
Kate Clifford, Director of Rural Community Network describes the impact that this project will have on our rural community: “Rural Community Network would like to offer its congratulations to this visionary team of Rural Transport providers. Working in strong collaboration, the rural transport family have shown great leadership in their ability to work strategically to attract such a meaningful investment.
“RCN is an agency rooted in community development activity and we are thrilled to see the realisation of this partnership’s ambition to provide accessible, affordable rural transport. This investment will support new fleet, new staff and new volunteering and ultimately will enable greater inclusion of the most vulnerable and most marginalised people in rural areas. This is true rural community development in action. Congratulations to those who had the vision to make this application and bring this ambition to reality. It will be life changing for many rurally based individuals and communities”.