Councillors were asked on Thursday to award over £330,000 to community transport initiatives in the north-east. The Aberdeenshire Community Transport Initiative (ACTI) was established in April 2008, following the transfer of responsibilities for such funding from the Scottish Government to local authorities.
Grants are awarded of up to 75% of project costs for the provision of community based rural passenger transport such as community buses, dial-a-trip services, and voluntary car schemes.
ACTI currently provides grant funding to seven local groups who were previously funded by the Scottish Government.
These are: Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus, Banffshire Partnership Limited, Ballater Royal Deeside Limited, Mid Deeside Limited (Deeside Community Transport Group), Mearns Community Transport, The Silver Circle and WRVS.
WRVS has a three year grant up to March 2013, and after it was asked to reduce costs for 2012/13 it has reduced its funding request from £27,351 to £25,160.
The six other groups are seeking funding of £332,169 for the financial year 2012/13. Given the council’s current financial position, the funding will run for one year if approved by councillors, having previously been allocated for a three-year period.
The overall amount is a reduction of around 10%, or £40,000, on previous annual funding packages, decided by Full Council at the start of last year.
Community groups were advised in February 2011, to allow them time to plan how to manage the reduction ahead of its implementation.
They were encouraged to seek alternative funding sources, make efficiency savings or increase charges if possible to try to avoid the need to reduce services.
Council officers worked with some of the groups to achieve the efficiency savings, resulting in lower applications for funding.
Due to the current financial position of the council, it is not considered appropriate to agree further funding beyond 2013. Any proposed grant awards for the financial year 2013/14 onwards will be the subject of a future committee report.