Two Leeds charities for the elderly have been awarded over £350,000 to expand their community transport offer across Northwest Leeds.

OPAL & AVSED, two of the Leeds Neighbourhood Network schemes supporting the over 60’s in Northwest Leeds have established a partnership, and together have successfully secured a grant totalling £356,873 from Motability Foundation to develop a scheme to enable disabled and vulnerable people to access transport and mobility support.

This funding will increase the provision of accessible transport to older people in Northwest Leeds, which will seek to benefit the 1587 members of both charities. Alongside providing accessible disability friendly transport to the wider communities in which the two charities serve.

The project was launched on Wednesday 28th February 2024


Deputy Lord Lieutenant Major Stan Hardy officially launched the project and he described this as an ‘amazing project’

Debbie Fawthrop, AVSED manager said “We are thrilled to find out that the Motability Foundation has funded our project, which will enable us to expand and reach more beneficiaries, many of whom may not have access to affordable, disability-friendly, community transport. The funding allows us to promote independence and support choices for those facing barriers to transport”.

This funding has enabled OPAL & AVSED to purchase two brand new wheelchair accessible vehicles, and will develop a shared pool of transport volunteers, including Volunteer Drivers, and Passenger Assistants, that will be used collaboratively to deliver their services. The increased capacity will enable those needing wheelchair accessible transport improved transport provision.

Both charities offer door to door transport to help improve the quality of life for older and disabled people, by supporting access to classes and activities, run by both the charities themselves and elsewhere, including:

Together, they make around 2,400 individual journeys per month, which include hot meal deliveries and three lunch clubs attended by up to a 100 older people each week. Offering this door-to-door service eliminates barriers around location and logistics to passengers who may lack stability and confidence, allowing them to live independently and build social networks. Brenda Stammers, an OPAL member who receives this transport provision said, “I used to be stuck in the house all the time but now I come to the lunch clubs, chair exercise, and have some lovely friends” OPAL and AVSED, which have a combined 50 years’ experience, were both significantly impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic. As a result OPAL, expanded to meet the increased need in the LS16 area and AVSED underwent an organisational restructure, both charities strive to offer the best that they can in financially difficult times, this much needed funding will help them deliver more needed services to local people and make a real difference to their lives and independence.

For more information, please visit: www.avsed.org.uk and www.opal-project.org.uk

About Motability Foundation

The Motability Foundation is a registered charity set up in 1977. The Motability Foundation funds, supports, researches and innovates so that all disabled people can make the journeys they choose. We oversee the Mobility Scheme and provide grants to help people use it, providing access to transport to hundreds of thousands of people a year. We award grants to other charities and organisations that provide different types of transport, or work towards making transport accessible. We also carry out ongoing research, in partnership with disabled people and key stakeholders in the industry, to inspire innovations that continue to champion accessible transport for all. Motability operating as Motability Foundation


For further information call Ailsa Rhodes 0113 2619103 / 07598256683