COMMUNITY transport schemes have been awarded grants to replace failing vehicles.

North Yorkshire County Council granted £24,750 to Bedale Community Minibus to replace a bus which was suffering from high maintenance and repair costs.

The minibus provides residents with a weekly shopping service on market days in Northallerton, and offers transport for school children with special needs and learning difficulties.

The scheme also runs a patient service for GP surgery appointments, and provides transport for elderly, disabled and youth organisations.

In the application, it is described as “a valuable local service” and is “the only travel option for many individuals”.

The scheme is said to have an “excellent range of services, dedicated board of trustees and makes good use of volunteer drivers to ensure the service is cost-effective.”

The Hambleton Community Action group, who run a Wheels to Work scheme, were awarded £9,000 towards replacing a new van which is used to deliver and collect mopeds.

The project enables those aged 16 and over to get to work, training or education via a moped loan scheme.

An inspection of the current van, which is 12-years-old with high mileage, revealed failings with the gearbox and clutch.

The application is for 50 per cent of the cost of a new van.

In the application, it said there is an “increasing demand for the service” as the project has been expanded to the Harrogate and Craven districts.

It added: “The scheme achieves positive outcomes in terms of clients leaving the scheme with employment opportunities or access to ongoing training or education.

“It is a valuable service which targets individuals with no other means of appropriate transport.”

At its meeting in July 2011, the council’s executive approved grant funding for community transport in the county for grants of up to £100,000.

The vehicles will not be used for any commercial contracts for a minimum of five years following the award of the grant.

Other successful schemes were Scarborough Dial a Ride service which received £30,888 to buy a minibus, and Age UK in Selby was awarded £45,000 to replace a wheelchair accessible minibus.