Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has announced that a £822,000 three year Executive funded package for an extension of the Regional Community Transport ‘Dial-a-Lift’ service to provide around 48,500 trips for rural dwellers over the next three years. The funding boost comes from the Social Investment Fund which is administered by The Executive Office.
Minister Chris Hazzard said:
“I am determined to improve transport connections for everyone and I am delighted that officials in The Executive Office, my Department and the organisations concerned have been able to work in a joined up way to deliver this project.
“This significant funding from the Social Investment Fund will enable a number of Rural Community Transport Operators to improve transport links for the most vulnerable people who live in remote rural areas and are unable to or find it difficult to use public transport to access services that many of us take for granted.”
Welcoming the investment, the First Minister Arlene Foster said: “This investment will make a real difference for the better for many people living in the Cookstown, Magherafelt, North Coast and South Antrim areas. Good transport infrastructure is vital to ensure that people in rural areas have easy access to medical care, training or their place of work.
“The Northern Ireland Executive has committed over £73million of the Social Investment Fund to projects across all of Northern Ireland. The projects we are funding are providing real help in areas such as employment, early intervention and education, providing support to those who need it, to improve their lives and reach their full potential.”
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “Partnership working is key to the success of the Social Investment Fund. This investment is a direct result of partnership working with the local community to identify and address needs, and, we are looking forward to working with the Department for Infrastructure and local delivery agents to ensure local people receive the best practical transport support we can provide. This is particularly important in areas where the availability of public transport is key to those accessing vital services such as health facilities, employment and training support and other services targeted at those most in need. This additional funding will make a real difference to the lives of local people in need of these services.”
The funding will benefit North Coast Community Transport, South Antrim Community Transport, CDM Community Transport and Out and About Community Transport who serve the Cookstown and Magherafelt areas respectively.
The 48,500 trips will be in addition to the trips which will continue to be supported by the Department under the Dial-a-Lift scheme.
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