Trust wins bid for new minibus!

Earlier this year (Jan’15) we applied to the Dept for Transport for a new minibus under their Community Transport Minibus Fund. At the end of March we heard that our bid has been successful, in a letter from the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin.

He writes: “I am pleased to be able to support organisations such as yours to help you continue to deliver services which can be a vital lifeline to communities”.

“My officials will contact you shortly to explain the process for procurement and delivery of your new vehicle”.

Naturally the Trust team are very excited by this fantastic news and we’re currently awaiting further details.

Here is a timeline which will be updated as we know more …

18th Aug’16: New Minibus in action:

New Minibus Graphics

The new minibus has already been used by one of our girls teams as well as the usual runs for fans to Leamington FC home and away matches in the 2016-17 season in the Evostik Southern League Premier Division.

5th Aug’16: Old minbus sold:

Not far short of our asking price, so that will help the ongoing minibus fund. It’s going to Africa!

2nd Aug’16: Old minibus for sale:

LDV Minibus For Sale

(link to eBay listing)

While we fully appreciate the initial efforts and donations to get our good old LDV in the first place at minimal cost, we have spent considerable amounts on MoTs, tyres, exhaust etc. It is only prudent that we not only recover some of those costs, but we also have to consider the cost of running, depreciation and future replacement of our new minibus – which we consider to be a community asset.

8th July’16: Try it out this Saturday:

The home run to this Saturday’s home friendly v Stourbridge will be the new minibus’ first run for Brakes fans – click here for details.

5th July’16: It’s here …


DfT Community Minibus Fund - New Minibus

DfT Community Minibus Fund – New Minibus

27th June’16: update from Minibus Options:

We are pleased to advise that the above vehicle has now completed DVLA registration and you will receive your V5 registration document in the post shortly.
GM Coachwork will be contacting you in the near future to organise a convenient handover date.
We hope you find everything to your satisfaction.
Going forward, GM Coachwork will explain to you their warranty cover and that provided by Peugeot Motor Company. Although Minibus Options would not normally be your point of contact for any warranty matters please do not hesitate to contact us if you find you are not obtaining the service required.

[V5 arrived in post Sat 25th.]

24th June’16: update from Minibus Options:

Your minibus is going through the process of DVLA registration and this can take approx. 10 days to complete.
We have chased up confirmation of your new vehicle registration number with Peugeot today.
Once the vehicle is confirmed registered and signwriting has been completed GM will contact you to arrange a convenient handover date.

18th June’16: update – registration and Vehicle tax paid, IVA test done – now awaiting DVA red tape processing and notification of delivery date.

13th June’16: update – colour and sign-writing:

While finalising the sign-writing that’s included in the DfT deal, we now know the minibus will be blue, which should be appropriate for away trips.Minibus Colour and Sign-Writing

This isn’t necessarily the final version of the sign-writing – pixellation is just on the example. The cost of this sign-writing is included in the DfT deal, we have considerable room left for sponsors to add theirs to our new, shiny ‘bus  – a bill-board around town and away.

28th May’16: update from the sub-contracted converter, GM Coachworks:

The minibus is built and is awaiting its IVA (type approval) Test, this is currently scheduled for 15th June but we might get an earlier slot. Then it can take up to 10 working days to finalise the red-tape with the DVL and get registered, so we’re currently looking at taking delivery near the end of June.

3rd May’16 update from Minibus Options:

I can confirm that your base vehicle from Peugeot has arrived with the converter.  We have not yet received your IVA test date or build week.  I will update you when we have more information.

21st Apr’16 update from Minibus Options:

We were able to adopt a stock pipeline vehicle and placed an order with Peugeot.  We receive our updates from Peugeot on a Friday.  As of last Friday, your vehicle was at the import centre.

The minibus conversion has been sub-contracted to a Company in Trusham, Devon. As the van has not yet arrived with them I am unable to provide you with an estimated build date.

As soon as our updates arrive tomorrow, I will email you to let you know the latest status of your vehicle.  As requested, I will also confirm the full base vehicle spec.

30th Mar’16 ETA approx three months – dialog with Minibus Options:

The DfT has asked to be mindful of overall costs. With this in mind would you be prepared to forgo [minor spec/option changes]
If we can proceed on this basis we would hope to offer delivery in approximately 3 months.

our reply:

I can confirm that it would be OK to go ahead with those changes …
We would prefer a shorter timescale if at all possible as we would like to be running the new minibus in July – which is when we start to get busy.

Response from Minibus Options:

Thank you for agreeing to the amendment to the specification.
We will now proceed with your order and attempt to source an appropriate base vehicle from stock.

9th Mar’16 general update from Minibus Options:

It is now one month since Minibus Options was awarded the Department for Transport Community Minibus fund contract.
Orders have been placed for the first batch of vehicles, but there is still plenty to do.

It has been great to meet several groups here at our showroom and production facility in Whaley Bridge and we are looking forward to meeting more of you in the coming weeks.

For those of you who have not yet replied to your initial offer, could you please review the specification and options list as soon as possible so that we can create your specification.

For those of you who have confirmed your requirements, we are working through your responses and we are producing your tailored specifications for you to approve.  To date, we have created 107 unique specifications for this project.  If you are waiting to receive your offer, please be assured that we are working through your requests as quickly as possible.

This shows the size of the overall project. Meanwhile, our spec has already been agreed (see 22nd Feb below) and we are waiting for approval from the DfT.

3rd Mar’16 from the Community Transport Association blog:

Last Friday, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones MP visited the HQ of Minibus Options, a CTA corporate supporter and the organisation contracted to provide over 200 minibuses as part of the Department of Transport’s Community Transport Minibus Fund. As part of the event, Andrew handed over the keys for two brand new minibuses to CTA members Easy Go CT and West Lancashire Dial-a-Ride. Read more.

22nd Feb’16 from Minibus Options:

Thank you very much for your approval.

I have added in the additional key for you (Line 49) and have noted your colour preference.

We will now seek authorisation from the Department for Transport to proceed with your order.
As soon as we have received the go ahead from the DfT, we will be in touch to confirm any registration and signwriting requirements.

18th Feb’16 from Minibus Options:

Based on your initial response, we would like to suggest the attached specification for you.

If this specification meets your requirements could you please confirm by email.
Minibus Options will then seek final approval from the Department for Transport to process your order.

We have confirmed the spec – it looks good.

New Minibus

11th Feb’16 we’ve replied to Minibus Options:

Thank you for your email, I can confirm that the attached specification and the proposed base vehicle will meet our needs with the options below.

I am more than happy to discuss this mix of options in order to expedite delivery of a suitable minibus and would value your expert advice.
Do you have any group concessions with respect to insurance and servicing?

And had a response:

Thank you very much for confirming your requirements.
Your specification will now be prepared, taking into account the additional options you have requested.
We will send this back to you for your approval as soon as possible.  Once you have approved the specification, it will be sent to the DfT for authorisation.
Please bear with us whilst we work through this initial contact phase.

9th Feb’16 from Minibus Options:

We have been commissioned by the DfT to supply your organisation with a new minibus.
Your minibus is classed as Lot 1: 17 seats and wheelchair/s with ramp access. The attached DfT specification describes the proposed vehicle and lists a number of options for your consideration.
The prime vehicle we expect to supply against this Lot is the Peugeot Boxer L4 2.2 HDi 130 at 4250kgs GVW.
At present we can offer stock vehicles in the following colours: White, Silver or Blue. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
By return email, please confirm the following:

  1. That the attached specification and the proposed base vehicle will meet your needs
  2. Please advise which of the listed options are required
  3. Do you have a colour preference for the vehicle?
  4. Please list any features that you require that are not addressed by the proposed vehicle

When we have your reply we will endeavour to allocate a suitable base vehicle for earliest delivery.
In due course we will contact you to request detail of any external livery that might be required, and to seek confirmation of the delivery and registration address and the required tax class.
We look forward to hearing from you.

5th Feb’16 from Minibus Options:


Peugot Boxer Minibus

Minibus Options – DfT Community Minibus Fund

The Department of Transport has commissioned Minibus Options to supply you with a new minibus.
As you can appreciate, there are around 200 minibus specifications to be confirmed with successful recipients. Therefore we ask you to wait for a member of the team to contact you.
As soon as your specification has been agreed, your minibus will be allocated a production slot.

1st Feb’16 phone call to DfT:

they indicated that the contract for the greater lot of minibuses has been awarded to Minibus Options of Whaley Bridge (south of Stockport) and that it is hoped for the majority of this contract to be fulfilled before the end of March.

31st Jan’16 from the House of Commons:

Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of the organisations awarded funding from the Community Transport Minibus Fund in March 2015 have received (a) a vehicle and (b) that funding.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

 In March 2015, 310 organisations were announced has having successful bids under the Community Transport Minibus Fund. The specific requirements of each organisation were then individually assessed.

76 of those organisations whose vehicle requirements are very specific have been identified for grant funding. 47 have received a 10% deposit for their vehicle and of those, 6 have received the full balance as their vehicle is ready for delivery.

A procurement competition is currently open to provide a further 210 vehicles through Crown Commercial Services’ vehicle conversion and vehicle purchase frameworks, to ensure value for money.*

The remaining vehicle requirements are being discussed individually as they are either outside the scope of the fund or their requirements have change.

*We are in that group of 210 being fulfilled through Crown Commercial Services.

7th Dec’15 latest from DfT:

As you know the Community Minibus Fund was announced earlier this year and your organisation has been told that it has been successful in obtaining funding.  We are now at the stage where we can begin to purchase a number of the vehicles through Government Frameworks managed by Crown Commercial Services. Thank you for your continued patience during this process, for which there has been a great deal of demand. As soon as we have details of a suitable supplier we will let you know.

In the meantime if you have any questions please contact the buses mail box at


30th Oct’15 latest from DfT:

Thank you to all of you who have already responded and commented on the specification that was sent to you.

I am keen to progress the minibus orders and will be taking the specifications to the market in the next few weeks. Can I therefore ask that anyone who has not commented on the specification do so before the end of next week (4 November)?

If you haven’t received the specification, or would like to see it again please let me know.

Many thanks



20th Oct’15 request for update sent to DfT:


please would you update us on the minibus situation – you probably have us in your records as Leamington FC Supporters Co-op Ltd, our friendly name is the Brakes Trust.

We are being pestered by minibus suppliers who are suggesting that you will now be requiring us to order direct with them. Is there any truth in this? I am concerned that this would introduce extra delays.

We have our Trust AGM next month and, as I expect the progress to be questioned, I really could do with something concrete to report.

This is our busiest time of the year for minibus use and our current minibus is really too old for the task and uncomfortable for our passengers as the weather worsens and the nights draw in.

I look forward to your reply.
Best regards,
Nick Rogers

2nd Sept’15 reply from DfT to our question about extra options:

Many thanks.
The optional extras bit will come later!

28th Aug’15 update from the DfT:

Please find attached a specification for the vehicle you have requested. This is based on the information supplied to us about wheelchair spaces, lifts and ramps and size of vehicles.

There are some features that will be standard to all of the vehicles as well as a list of optional features. These are things that have been specifically asked for by organisations and will not apply to everyone but will be resolved between the supplier and the customer.

I am sending you this specification so that you can check the general details ie no of seats and requirement for wheelchair spaces, lifts and ramps. We are unable to specify a make and model as this will depend on which manufacturers can complete the orders. If there is anything significantly wrong with above features, please let me know.

Please contact me if there is anything to discuss by email or telephone (or leave a message – I will return it although there may be a short delay). If you send an email, could you please include the name of your organisation in the email, many thanks.


Our reply:

thank you for your email. The standard equipment section (green) matches our requirements.
There are items in the Optional Extras section which we do require – do we need to identify these now or is that to be done later?
Best regards,
Nick Rogers (Chairman – Leamington FC Supporters Co-op Ltd – known as the Brakes Trust).

They’ve confirmed earlier today by phone that minibuses of similar specs will be sent direct from the DfT to the manufacturers in the form of an eAuction. So, given typical lead times we’re a few months away. But it’s good to see things moving along.

10th July’15 update from the DfT:

I apologise if you haven’t had an update from us for a while, we have been continuing to identify the vehicle requirements of your organisations and collating them in order to start the procurement. This will hopefully be completed towards the end of the month when we will be clear on how your vehicle will be procured.
In the mean time, I understand some organisations have had visits and/or correspondence from suppliers or converters suggesting they have been sent by the Department. I can tell you that is not the case, I have not organised any personal visits so you may wish to ignore these representations.
We will be in touch again towards the end of the month.

Rachael Gilbert
Team Leader, Buses and Taxis Division
2/15 GMH, Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR

16th April’15 we had our first update:

Further to the Secretary of State’s letter of 26 March, I would like to update you on the procurement process for the Community Transport Minibus Fund.
We will be procuring the majority of minibuses centrally using Government procurement frameworks. We are currently analysing your individual vehicle requirements and will be going out to the market with the resulting specifications. Once this process is complete we should be able to tell you more about timescales for delivery.
We will continue to contact you every month to update you on the procurement process but if you have any questions in the interim, please email or contact me by telephone.

Rachael Gilbert
Team Leader, Buses and Taxis Division
2/15 GMH, Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR

26th March’15 we were informed by emailed letter that our application was successful:

From the Secretary of State
The Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
Tel: 020 7944 6752
Fax: 020 7944 4399
Web site:
Thank you for applying to the Department’s Community Transport Minibus
Fund. I am delighted to inform you that your bid has been successful. I am
pleased to be able to support organisations such as yours to help you
continue to deliver services which can be a vital lifeline to communities.
My officials will contact you shortly to explain the process for procurement
and delivery of your new vehicle.

More info:

Press release:…on-minibus-fund

List of successful applicants:…ers.csv/preview

Interactive map:…fund/index.html

14th Jan’15 we submitted our carefully prepared application on-line, summarising our operation:

The Brakes Trust runs one minibus under a Section 19 permit to provide safe community transport to Leamington Football Club matches, plus offers the minibus for hire by affiliated teams and the wider community.

The club’s main ground is in a rural location, miles from town, on a dangerous road with limited parking. There is a limited public bus service to the ground, but the service is infrequent and does not run into the evenings. The only viable way of travelling to the football ground is by car, thereby excluding many in the community.

The minibus service picks-up from a number of locations across the district, offering affordable travel to both home and away fixtures. Our passengers include young people without access to transport, unemployed people, people with disability or limited mobility, and more elderly members of the community. The minibus service provides social value and community benefit since it allows access to sporting and recreational interests.

The Brakes Trust is an independent not-for-profit organisation; the minibus is run and maintained entirely by unpaid volunteers with users contributing the running costs.

Leamington FC is an FA Charter Standard Community Club with over 20 affiliated boys and girls teams. These too have access to hire our minibus and hence it provides benefits to health, wellbeing and youth development. The minibus is also available for hire by local community groups and has been used by Scout groups, disadvantaged groups and local interest groups.

1st Dec’14 as members of the Community Transport Association we were informed that:

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a Community Minibus Fund. This will provide hundreds of community transport organisations across England with the opportunity to apply to a £25 million fund for new minibuses.

Naturally we registered our interest.
DfT press release