West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has launched a new £950k grants scheme to create new and support existing community transport initiatives in West Northants, as well as support the expansion of current grant funded transport projects and services.
This grant funding will be available over the financial years 2024/25 and 2025/26 for eligible community transport projects from 1 April 2024, following £547,181 funding from Central Government via the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) and £60,337 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), in addition to £342,000 of Council funding.
The grant funding will be allocated to community transport projects and services that meet identified needs and assist the Council in achieving one or more of its corporate priorities, including improving accessibility to employment, healthcare, leisure and education services; addressing unmet needs where there are gaps in the commercial bus network provision; and connecting rural communities to the locations they need to access.
The types of community transport projects or services that will be considered for the grant funding will also play a crucial role in enhancing the wellbeing of individuals and communities by addressing the various transport-related challenges they face including:
- Increasing accessibility and inclusion by providing access to transportation for individuals who may have limited mobility, disabilities, or live in areas with inadequate public transport options
- Reducing social isolation by enabling independent living especially among young people, older adults, and individuals with disabilities who may otherwise be confined to their homes due to a lack of suitable transport options
- Providing access to healthcare by providing reliable community transport that is critical for individuals to access healthcare services
- Enabling safer transport by prioritising safety and the training of drivers, community transport providers will understand their users’ needs to make transportation a safer option, especially for vulnerable individuals
- Supporting economic opportunities by helping people access employment opportunities, education and training and contributing to economic development, economic empowerment, and self-sufficiency
- Assisting in the maintenance of sustainable communities by connecting rural communities to the services they need and providing dependable travel resulting in well-connected places
- Providing environmental benefits by using more sustainable and eco-friendly vehicles or limiting car mileage, contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a cleaner environment helping us to reach net-zero by 2045
- Relieving traffic congestion by providing alternative transportation to reduce the number of individual vehicles on the road, thus alleviating traffic congestion in urban and suburban areas
- Providing a cost-efficient alternative to existing transport services, particularly for users who might find traditional private transportation unaffordable
- Building communities by promoting a sense of community, bringing people together and facilitating social interaction.
Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Organisations that operate within the geographical area of West Northamptonshire and the Town and Parish Councils within the area are invited to submit an expression of interest form for this Community Funding Grant.
We are delighted to be inviting providers to bid for this funding to support our communities and help improve transport provision across West Northants.Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services
This funding will help to alleviate transport challenges for some of our most vulnerable residents as well as those who live in rural communities.
We are looking for providers who share our ambition for accessibility and inclusivity and are particularly interested in providers that can deliver sustainable and environmentally impactful approaches to community transport.
It is an important factor in people’s wellbeing that they have options for safe, comfortable and affordable travel to meet their everyday needs, and we are committed to supporting this where we can for all our residents.Cllr Phil Larratt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste
Transport providers have a big role to play in providing people with an alternative option to the car, and to encourage people to travel more sustainably we will aim to support the provision of reliable, efficient and affordable alternatives which meet the needs of our communities and that are accessible to everyone.
We’re keen to work with community transport providers who understand their communities’ transport needs and who share our commitment to making a sustainable West Northamptonshire a reality. Those who are successful at bidding for funding will receive a one-off grant to introduce or enhance local transport schemes in their communities.
We are grateful for the UK Government’s support in enabling us to deliver this REPF and UKSPF funding to local community groups and help improve the lives of residents across West Northamptonshire.Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth
As a Council, we’ve worked hard to carefully plan how to use this funding to realise our growth aspirations for our area and ensure it has a beneficial impact on the whole community.
We have a comprehensive range of projects, initiatives and activities taking place between now and March 2025 which aim to deliver impactful interventions and continue to raise the profile of West Northants as an area where everyone can thrive.
Further information and the full criteria for applications can be found on the WNC website and in the Council’s Community Funding Grants Framework. If you would like to speak to the Community Funding Grants Team about your project or your eligibility to apply for this grant, email: firstname.lastname@example.org including your contact telephone number, as a telephone conversation can sometimes clarify a question more efficiently.
More information on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) can be found on the Gov website.