Schemes puts South Ayrshire Community Transport on the right road

One of the new minibuses unveiled by South Ayrshire Community Transport after participating in the LaunchMe programme
One of the new minibuses unveiled by South Ayrshire Community Transport after participating in the LaunchMe programme

Community transport operator South Ayrshire Community Transport (SACT) has unveiled two new minibuses and launched a new car club.

The buses, which will be based in Maybole and Ayr, were acquired after participating in the third programme round of the social enterprise accelerator LaunchMe.

The initiative is delivered by Scottish social enterprise support agency Firstport and funded by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

It teaches start-ups how to become investment-ready and directly connects them with investors looking for social as well as financial returns.

SACT’s Catriona Haston said the accelerator “helped sharpen up our operational skills and business practices, giving us the ability and courage to think outside the box and scale up our operations”.

She added: “Our two new buses are continuing to attract a great deal of attention.

“One of the best things is the step and handrails feature which makes getting on and off an absolute breeze.

“If your group has elderly or disabled members, these are the buses for you!

“Naturally, they also have the tail-lift feature for anyone who is wheelchair bound or finds the steps difficult.

“A further plus is you don’t need a D1 on your licence to drive one as they are lightweight, unless you plan to fill them with rugby players.

“If you would like to hire one for your group’s day out, give us a call and let’s chat.”

SACT has also launched a new community car club.

The two year pilot scheme will give vulnerable people in the community access to two electric vehicles for vital medical appointments, job interviews or shopping.

The project is in direct response to the findings of the Tandem Report which called for smaller, lower cost vehicles for hire which didn’t have any license restrictions.

SP Energy Networks awarded funding to SACT as part of its £20m Green Economy Fund, which supports the Scottish Government’s climate change targets, boosts local economic growth, improves air quality and delivers a better future.

Catriona said: “Our current transport services have been popular and it’s great that we’re now able to expand this to be able to meet the demand.

“In addition to helping people in our community, the Green Economy Fund has allowed us to deliver environmentally friendly modes of transport that encourages others in our community to start thinking about how they can help tackle climate change.”

The launch was attended by Scottish Power’s district general manager for Ayrshire and Clyde South, Angus Campbell, South Ayrshire provost Helen Moonie, Derek Gardner from Social Investment Scotland and Emer Murphy from the Community Transport Association.

Representatives of South Ayrshire Council, service users and user groups were also in attendance as scones, jam and cream were provided by Ayrshire Women’s Hub along with tea, coffee and the chocolate fountain.

Catriona said: “It was a really memorable day all round and great to finally be up and running.”

For more information visit the South Ayrshire Community Transport Facebook page or call 01292 270865.

LaunchMe is now looking for applications from profit-for-good start-ups for its fifth programme round, to learn more visit www.firstport.org.uk/programmes/launchme.