27th September saw a Staffordshire charity's community transport service receive a boost with a new custom-built minibus from conversion and mobility specialists Stanford Coachworks.

The official handover took place at Staffordshire Moorlands Community and Voluntary Services (SMCVS). David Hardacre, Sales and Marketing Executive for Stanford handed over the keys to the Chairman Harry Edwards, Community Transport Officer Sally Bentley and Community Transport Operations Assistant Craig Dawson.

SMCVS provide invaluable support and transport services to voluntary and community groups within the Staffordshire Moorlands.

The company's Old LDV Minibus was due for renewal and has been replaced with a Renault Master LM3500 model. The 53DCI 100 long wheelbase, GVW with 2.2ltr engine with 6 speed manual gearbox is fitted with cab air conditioning, reversing sensors and a 62MPH speed restrictor fitted.

The new transportation took eight weeks to be built and delivered and includes 12 seats, plus the driver's seat, and wheelchair access.

Non-slip Taraplus vinyl finishes the floor with semi-recessed low profile Unwin tracking fitted full length, to give a flexible seating option and accommodate up to three wheelchairs. The rear saloon is fitted with four interior lamps with LED blue night facility, complete with switch to driver's fascia.

All seats are M2 certified with NMI legs, Ambla incontinence upholstery and yellow soft-feel head restraints and grab handles tested to meet EEC Directive 76/115. Insulation is fitted to all rear, side wall and roof cavities and there are head bump pads above both doors in seat trim. There is storage over the driver's area with hinged lift up door on black hinges and a spring loaded catch.

Eberspacher D2 heating is fitted to the rear saloon with a Ricon S2037 Series, Inboard Automatic Passenger Lift to allow easy access for the wheelchairs.

“A new minibus was needed because the old bus wasn't expected to pass its MOT and Craig Dawson had good input in the vehicle specification,” explains David Hardacre.

“I showed the centre a demonstrator we had which gave them an indication of the quality and we truly hope its passengers enjoy the comfort of their new minibus.”

Sally Bentley, Community Transport Officer, said: “We are extremely satisfied with our new vehicle. From the very beginning of the process David and Stanford Coachworks have shown their expertise in the conversion process, not only offering us advice but also listening to our needs and coming up with a fantastic vehicle, delivered on time.”

The minibus has been supplied with minimal livery for the charity to earn additional revenue from selling local advertising space on the bus itself. The vehicle will assist with community luncheon clubs, day trips and other essential community transport journeys.