Over 300 community groups across England have been awarded new minibuses under a £25m government fund.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin today announced the first round of allocations under the community transport minibus fund, with London and the south receiving the highest number of new vehicles.
Each successful community group or charity will receive a nine to 16-seater minibus specifically tailored to their requirements.
Mr McLoughlin said: ‘I know first-hand how important transport providers like these can be to keep rural areas alive and protect the independence of local residents. They are often the lifeblood of local communities so it is only right that the government gives them the support they deserve.
‘This £25m fund will buy over 300 new vehicles, some specially adapted, to help these organisations continue to carry out their important work in the community.
‘We have had an overwhelming response, which demonstrates the importance of this fund, and I am keen to support similar schemes in the future.’
The South East saw 64 successful rewards, the South West 62 and London 11. In comparison, the North East was today allocated 19 vehicles, the North West 27 and Yorkshire and Humberside 44.
Some 22 East Midlands schemes won government support, alongside 31 in the West Midlands and 25 in the east of England.
The Department for Transport is now expected to examine how it could use the fund to support additional schemes this summer.