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Generous business gives community transport charity a major boost

Wednesday April 3, 2019


Generous business gives community transport charity a major boost

It’s not every day that a small charity receives a gift worth more than £35,000, and the generosity shown by an East Yorkshire commercial vehicle business has given a community transport charity the crucial boost it was very much longing for.

Beverley Community Lift (BCL), a transport charity that has been supporting elderly, disabled and isolated people for more than 45 years, has had a challenging year which led to a reduction of their fleet of vehicles in late 2018, which in turn meant they were unable to take some bookings due to a lack of vehicle availability.

To their astonishment, local businessman Paul Simpson, who runs vehicle leasing company Thompson Commercial Ltd based in Hull, contacted them out of the blue and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse – a brand new 14-seater Renault Master minibus. Not only that, Paul also offered to cover all maintenance costs on the bus for five years.

BCL manager Fiona Wales said: “Even though I had put a silent plea out to the universe asking for a guardian angel to give us a bus, this was a big surprise!

“This kind of generosity does not happen often, and it is hard to quantify just how much of a difference it will make to us. Not only does it mean we are less likely to have to turn bookings down, we can also offer more to our existing users in our community and help many older, less able-bodied and isolated passengers retain their independence longer and meet their wellbeing needs.”

Paul, who was born and bred in the Grovehill Road area of Beverley, said: “I just felt it was time to give something back to my community. I’ve been very successful, having worked at the same business for 40 years where I started out as an apprentice mechanic and I now own the company. 

“My mum used Beverley Community Lift so it was a perfect opportunity for me to remember her.”

The fully adapted minibus, christened ‘Tulip’, was delivered on April 1 and features an internal passenger lift for manual wheelchairs. 

Iain Campbell, Chairman of the Trustees at BCL, said: “We are very grateful to Paul and his company for their kind donation. The bus will enable us to once again offer a full service to our clients in the community, building on the recent work done by our staff and volunteers.

“We will have the security of a reliable new vehicle and an increased flexibility in the operation of the whole vehicle fleet. We look forward to it being much enjoyed by our users.”

Fiona added: “I’m happy to say that following the setbacks of last year the charity is on the way back up. Over the past few months we have been shown incredible generosity from various sources, including the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust, Beverley Building Society and Tesco to name but three of the many local organisations that have given us invaluable support. Our charity shop in Sow Hill Road, Beverley, is also busier than ever, thanks to manager Heath Marsh-McLeod and his team.

“Paul’s contribution from Thompson Commercial is truly amazing and I cannot thank him enough for his generosity.”

The charity continues to appeal for support and will be holding a number of fundraising events this year, including a Spring Fair at Toll Gavel Church on May 25; a 24-hour sing-a-thon in conjunction with Leconfield Community Choir on June 8 and 9; and a gin tasting event in conjunction with the Beverley Arms hotel in the summer.

For further details of these events, how to donate to BCL or how to become a volunteer with the charity, please contact Fiona Wales on 01482 868082 or

Notes for editors

In 2018, BCL appealed for urgent help from the East Yorkshire community to overcome EU transport rules that threatened its financial stability.

EU legislation meant it could no longer maintain the commercial contracts that, for years, have contributed vital income to sustain community transport services. For a number of years, BCL relied on revenue from its schools contracts to supplement its charitable activities.

However, in order to continue with those contracts, it would need to apply for an operator’s licence or ‘O licence’. This is due to the enforcement of European legislation which is compelling all community transport charities across the UK, like BCL, to rethink their operational structures.

Unfortunately, BCL’s circumstances mean that it was not in a position to apply for an ‘O licence’ due to various stringent criteria, including the need to have a dedicated depot to store its fleet of vehicles in.

As a result, the charity had no option but to decide not to apply for the licence, meaning it would have to hand back its school contracts to East Riding Council. This in turn meant its remaining revenue was insufficient to support its primary purpose of providing transport for vulnerable people.

Thankfully, the region’s media helped to spread the word of the charity’s plight and local organisations and individuals came forward in their droves, raising essential funds to bring the charity back from the bring and keep motoring along into 2019.


Photo: Tulip the minibus, with from left, BCL manager Fiona Wales, Nick Wright, BCL transport co-ordinator, Paul Simpson and his wife Mairi Simpson.

Please contact Tracy Fletcher of By Tracy Fletcher Limited PR if you have any questions or interview requests related to this news release, via 07983 633385 or