New accessible buses for Bristol show the power of social enterprise!
HCT Group’s community transport operation in Bristol, Bristol Community Transport (BCT), is celebrating the award of a significant grant from the Social Enterprise Investment Fund (SEIF) of £148,700. The funding will be used for two brand new low floor accessible vehicles, which will be put into use in community transport services and will be able to provide an extra 45,000 passenger trips in Bristol per year.
The win demonstrates that local communities in Bristol are already benefitting from BCT joining HCT Group. One of the reasons for the merger, announced in December 2011, was to give BCT access to the resources and investment of the wider HCT Group, which is one of the UK’s largest and most successful social enterprises. Its CT Plus trading arm began operating in Bristol in September, delivering the A4 Bath Road Park and Ride service (route 904). It will take over the 902 service in April 2012.
The profits generated by the operation of commercial transport contracts in Bristol are reinvested into community transport services for local communities, delivered by BCT. These services are focused on helping those who find it difficult to use mainstream public transport, such as the elderly and those with mobility difficulties, to get out and about.
Dai Powell, HCT Group Chief Executive, commented: “HCT Group has only been working in Bristol for a few months and already we have been able to unlock the power of social enterprise to achieve the greatest social impact. The SEIF funding success means that we can reach out to more communities in the long term by expanding the range of services we are able to offer to local people.”
The Social Investment Business’ Chief Executive, Jonathan Jenkins, said: “HCT Group are an inspiration - delivering good for the communities they serve whilst building a successful and professional organisation. Their work in the South West through BCT allows them to replicate the good practice developed in Hackney and provide vital transport routes to some of the least mobile. We are pleased to manage a fund that finances ambitious, life-changing organisations such as HCT Group which will really make a difference and improve the quality of life in communities in Bristol, Hackney and elsewhere.”