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Ashbourne's community bus service safe for yet another year

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 02, 2014

Ashbourne Community Transport team members Brian Hunt, Mandy Sowter, Simone Beales, Kyle Robinson and Hillary Chetwin.

Ashbourne Community Transport team members Brian Hunt, Mandy Sowter, Simone Beales, Kyle Robinson and Hillary Chetwin.

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PASSENGERS using Ashbourne's community transport service can breathe a sigh of relief, after it was given a grant to continue for another year.

The award of just over £186,000 from Derbyshire County Council ensures that people in the area who are unable to use regular public transport will still be able to get out and about.

The community transport scheme provides a range of journeys for people who live in rural areas and villages where regular bus services are non-existent, or who are simply unable to use it because of their health or age.

It runs door-to-door, wheelchair-accessible minibuses, many with passenger assistants, and cars driven by volunteers for people to get to essential services such as the shops and healthcare appointments.

General manager Richard Mountford said: "This is terrific news that we have been given funding for a further year. The service we provide is in many cases critical for people of varying ages and enables those who use us to maintain independence through travel to a variety of locations.

"The core services we provide under the grant enable transport for shopping trips, doctors' appointments or even an afternoon at the hairdressers.

"Derbyshire County Council has shown real leadership in making this decision, without the grant we would have to look at reducing these much-needed services. The council has also shown through this decision that community transport is here to stay."

He said the service operates a fleet of 13 vehicles but wants to do more.

Mr Mountford added: ''The grant received will help us provide much-needed services. However, by using our services more, the people of Ashbourne are showing their support for us whilst helping to provide for others.

"This will hopefully result in us being able to offer more services around town and help people to maintain a healthy lifestyle."

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