Staying Forever Young
Westway CT’s Innovation Fund
Like many CTs around the country, Westway CT has periods of vehicle downtime that seem to be unavoidable, periods between school runs and day centre transport where the fleet of vehicles are not used.
Since Westway CT began back in 1991, the team have always had much debate about how to utilise the vehicles while also lowering the overall costs of transport for our membership. There have been ongoing discussions about how to encourage members to use the minibuses during the off-peak periods in the middle of the day, in the evenings and at the weekends.
In 2015, a brainstorming session between the Management Team and the Committee led to the launch of the Innovation Fund; a grant in the form of transport credits made available by Westway CT offered to local charities and community groups.
The Innovation Fund was offered to new emerging community groups based in Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham, as well as Westway CT’s existing Group Transport Members.
The hope was that the Innovation Fund would encourage members to introduce new innovative projects and activities for their users, that would take place during the least busy times of the day.
First Phase – 2015 – 17
£20,000 was set aside in the form of transport credits and made available to existing member organisations with a turnover of no more than £250,000.
Seven Member Groups applied in the first phase – Lunch Club 4 The Blind, The Avenues Youth Project, NICOLA, Chelsea Theatre, Harrison Housing, Westminster Children’s Centre and Hammersmith Community Garden Association. All were awarded transport credits of between £1,000 and £4,000 each.
NICOLA (New International Company of Live Arts), a youth lead charity that promotes positive interaction within and between youth communities through creative opportunities and projects, was awarded £3,000 in transport credits and used the funding for sightseeing day-trips into the centre of London, as well as a group outing to Brighton.
‘The fund helped us to make two projects more interesting and fun, gave us the chance to add a trip to Brighton and the participants were thrilled to see another city. This could not have happened without the Innovation Fund. Access to the fund was easy. We found the team nice, and they helped us in every request’, said Michela from Nicola.
The fund was extended up to the end of March 2017.
Second Phase – 2017/18
In the Second Phase, applicants were awarded transport credits of up to £5,000 each, and while all local community and charitable organisations were encouraged to apply, we targeted sections of the community that are underrepresented across our membership, specifically promoting the fund to groups that serve younger people.
“We believe that the Innovation Fund is a great way to change the booking habits of our members, by getting them to think ‘outside of the box’ and create new opportunities for the local community at different times of the day. So far, the Innovation Fund has generated a lot of new projects. It is important in these days where money is tight that we make the most use of our resources while meeting the demands of our members”, said Andrew Kelly, Westway CT’s Director in 2017-18.
The uptake was higher than in the previous years.
Third Phase – 2018/20
The Third Phase of the fund offers Free MiDAS Training for up-to two Volunteers per Member Group (which has been extended up to the end of March 2020)
Group Transport Members can nominate up to two of their volunteers to take part in MiDAS Training so that they can drive a Minibus. Everyone driving a Westway CT minibus must have a MiDAS Certificate, this is our policy.
Nominating a Volunteer to drive a minibus means that the overall costs of minibus bookings are reduced. Simply put, there is no driver charge if a volunteer drives for you.
Do you use Volunteers to support your services? If so, would you like them to take part in MiDAS Training which means they can drive a minibus for your organisation?
If you would like to apply for up to two of your volunteers to take part in this training, please contact Anna Porta, Development Manager by email using our Contact Form. You will need to meet the Innovation Fund Ts and Cs 2019.
If you would like to talk to someone about the Innovation Fund, please feel free to call 020 8964 4928, and ask for Anna Porta.
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