A local community transport organisation is celebrating a successful funding bid to bring its fleet into the 21st Century.
Working with the Community Transport Association (CTA) Wales, DANSA has secured Welsh Government funding of £468,000 which will enable it install two EV charging points in the Dulais Valley, to buy two electric Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) and two fully accessible electric minibuses, as well as creating solar panels and battery storage and an electric food vehicle able to deliver nutritious meals throughout the area.
DANSA (Dulais, Afan, Neath, Swansea and Amman valleys), which has its headquarters in Crynant, Neath, is a membership based not for profit organisation backed by a number of organisations including Neath Port Talbot Council, Swansea Council and the Welsh Government.
The project will use fully accessible community transport to support people and families living on low incomes across Wales, through the £25m Household Support Fund.
The CTA has worked with four of the main operators delivering services in the target communities across the Western Valleys region, of which DANSA is one, to explore ways in which the original proposal could be adapted and developed to support communities as they recover and move beyond the impact of Covid 19.
The focus for this work is to develop new services and enhance existing ones, to provide targeted support to communities through accessible and inclusive decarbonised transport services that connect people with work, education, health and social activities.
This will contribute to reducing inequality, increasing opportunities for people to connect across communities and tie into existing developments and investment around active travel, transport to health, decarbonisation and access to work.
Cllr Wyndham Griffiths, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Transport and Connectivity, welcomed the funding announcement saying : “This is great news for the valley areas served so well by DANSA especially at a time when public transport is coming under severe financial pressures.”
Susan Evans, DANSA’s Transport Manger, praised the scheme, saying: “This funding shows a commitment from Welsh Government to support communities and organisations as we emerge from the pandemic. I’m particularly pleased we have secured the EV food van, which will not only allow us to extend our deliveries from the Cwtch Cafe, but also support the Dulais Valley Foodbank, which has become increasingly important during these difficult times.”
Jeff Davies, DANSA’s Business Development Coordinator, who led on the project said: “I’m delighted we’ve been successful in our application, after months of work developing the project.
“Following a lockdown delay, it was great to see the bid resurrected and this now gives us an opportunity to support communities using the best and most modern vehicles. This investment in our communities comes at exactly the right time as we seek improve our services and help as many people as possible.”
DANSA’s Chairman, Dean Cawsey, added: “This is fantastic news for DANSA and the communities we serve. Decarbonising our fleet is a big priority, and these new vehicles will provide us with modern transport solutions for many years to come. I’m delighted to see DANSA playing its part in tackling climate change in practical ways that make a real difference.”