The work of a Centro fund which has handed out nearly £3 million to community groups across the West Midlands in the last decade has been celebrated with a conference and reception. More than 60 delegates were at Maple House in Birmingham city centre to mark 10 years of the Transport Regeneration Fund and its community partnerships.
In that time more than 50 community based projects have benefited from grants awarded by Centro, the region’s transport authority, with the fund.
The conference, chaired by Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip, celebrated the many project successes in assisting community organisations to gain increased understanding and awareness of transport related issues that affect them.
Presentations were heard from previously funded projects including Community Transport, National Express, Community Vibe, Action for Blind People, Walsall Council, Murray Hall Community Trust and Cycle Chain, who assisted a wide range of groups including the young, elderly, the unemployed and minority groups.
The clients spoke about how the funding they received had made a real difference to themselves in accessing key services and raising their confidence.
Councillor Judith Rowley of Centro, who chairs the Transport Regeneration Fund Review Group said: “Many projects we have funded over the last 10 years have gone a significant way to improving peoples access onto public transport.
“The fund has provided a framework for groups and communities to pilot innovative projects which break down barriers to using public transport and made public transport much more available, accessible, affordable and acceptable to many people.
“By Centro and the community working together we have found a number of ground-breaking transport solutions which, without this fund, many barriers would still be in place.”
The Transport Regeneration Fund is a Centro scheme which seeks to ensure public transport meets the environmental, social, physical and economic needs of the region.
Where those demands are unmet, it awards grants to groups and communities, particularly when accessing key services such as employment, health and education.
Since the scheme was launched nearly 20,000 people have benefited from a total of £2.8 million in grants.
More than 5,000 people have witnessed improved access to leisure, 4,500 have seen improved access to training, 5,500 have benefited from improved access to healthcare and 4,000 people have won improved access to employment.