Sheppey Matters, the Brittle Bone Society and Interloch Community Transport are the first charities to be awarded funding from Motability’s new portfolio of grant programmes created for charities and organisations who support the transport needs of people with a disability. These awards are the first of £50 million earmarked for charities and organisations across the UK over the next three years.
These initial grants, worth more than £773,000, are the first of many, and the new decision panel plan to meet regularly as more applications are received.
The Brittle Bone Society (BBS) is the main charity set up to address the needs of people born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). The new funding will buy wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories. Patricia Osborne, the charity’s CEO, said: “This amazing grant from Motability means we can get the right wheelchairs for individuals almost immediately! Our previous process worked, and we cannot thank all those Trusts enough, whom we worked with over many years to do that. However, the size of this Motability grant means we no longer need to apply to several Grant Givers for each individual application, while people waited for those last portions of funding to come through. This will radically speed up the process meaning they won’t have to wait.”
Based in Scotland and covering the Cowal and Bute areas, Interloch Community Transport provides door-to-door transport services with a number of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs). Alan MacRaild, Interloch’s CEO, said: “The rollout of the Motability fund could not have come at a better time and is a huge boost for us, not just for the short term but also in helping secure our organisation for the next three years. Our members will continue to have peace of mind and that is priceless to us. Whether it is a hospital appointment or a trip to the supermarket, they can rely on us to get them there. Having a Community Transport service like Interloch gives people back their independence and helps them overcome the obstacles and barriers that often come with age and disability.”
Supporting communities in and around the Isle of Sheppey, Sheppey Matters provides health and well-being services. The Motability grant will support the charity’s expansion of its transport services. Sheppey Matters CEO, Nigel Martin, said: “Transport in Sheppey can be expensive and unreliable, and services are continuing to be cut. For our disabled users, this can be very limiting and can leave people feeling isolated. The grant for the new minibus will have a big impact on what we can do for the local community. It really will change lives for people on the Isle of Sheppey.”
Barry Le Grys, Chief Executive of Motability said: “Research shows that disabled people make 38% fewer journeys every year than non-disabled people, due to poor access to transport. We are delighted to be awarding this funding to organisations who want to put this right, just as we do.
“Through these charities, the grants will help fill those gaps in existing transport services for disabled people and help to address the challenges they face every day.”
Charities and organisations can apply for grants from £100,000 up to £4 million, programme dependent. Each application is assessed consistently against Motability’s criteria to ensure fair and transparent awarding of funding and to deliver the greatest impact to as many disabled people as possible.
The portfolio consists of six grant programmes that have launched over the last eight months. Community Transport, Wheelchair Sector, Research Grants, Active Travel Grants, Travelling with Confidence and Reducing Barriers to Driving - all designed to expand and improve transport options for disabled people.
If your organisation needs help with transportation, you can find out to apply for a grant here.
The photo shows Nicola Waghorne, project manager at Sheppey Matters, receiving the keys to the charity’s new minibus thanks to funding from Motability.