Two community groups in Bedfordshire have been awarded funding to buy new minibuses to help keep people on the move.
The ASR learning Project, and Families United Network on Leagrave Road, were among 40 disability, patient, children and school groups across England who will get a new vehicle after winning part of £2 million in the second round of the £25 million Community Minibus Fund.
The minibuses, which will have up to 16 seats, will improve the lives of people in rural areas by providing crucial links to shops, social events and medical services.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Community transport is vital for people in rural areas, helping them reach shops, hospital appointments, loved ones, friends, jobs and education.
“We have so far provided 300 minibuses in the first round of the £25 million Community Minibus Fund and they are already improving the lives of people up and down the country.
“These extra minibuses will give a further boost and make sure the public can access the places and services they want.”
The competition was run with the Community Transport Association (CTA), the membership organisation for community bus operators across the UK.
Bill Freeman, CTA chief executive, said: “The Community Transport Association was thrilled to facilitate this second round. These vehicles will make a massive difference to the people and communities they will serve, opening up access to educational and social activities, employment and vital public services.
“We are really pleased that this government has been prepared to invest in community transport in such a visible way and we’re already seeing the benefits of this from the first round of the Community Minibus Fund.”