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Volunteers call on community to use charity minibus service
VOLUNTEERS who run a community minibus are fighting to safeguard its future after the loss of local authority contracts left it relying on fundraising.
Bedale volunteer minibus has been offering elderly and vulnerable people transport for more than 20 years. It can also be used by the wider community for organised trips and is run by a group of 30 dedicated volunteers.
Now the group is calling on residents in Bedale and the surrounding area to make the most of the service to ensure it can keep going.
One of its major operations is working with Dalescare, the day centre for elderly people.
Passenger Freda Jaques, 96, only lives about 100 yards from Dalescare but gets picked up every Tuesday and Friday and spends nearly an hour on the minibus going around the villages collecting other people.
"I don't know what I would do without it," she said. "It gives me a chance to get out and see people and I have a ride round on the bus. It really is marvellous."
Delma and David Bode, who are both in their eighties, also believe the minibus provides a vital service, in their case taking Mr Bode to Dalescare twice a week.
"It's absolutely wonderful, it has helped me a lot," said Mrs Bode. "I know he is safe, he really enjoys going to Dalescare, and it gives me a few hours a day. Without it, we would have to use taxis which would be expensive and not so reassuring."
Organiser Malcolm Bloor said the service had struggled after the loss of Social Services and mental health contracts.
He said: "We really feel there are a lot of people who could benefit, people who may be isolated and rarely get out. We can help, the minibus can take 13 passengers and a driver, or two wheelchairs and seven passengers.
"It is also available for community use, for groups or individuals who want to go to events or need transport - we would normally provide drivers. It is run as a charity and not for profit so costs are kept as low as we can possibly keep them."
For more information, contact the volunteer minibus project on 01677-425329 on Monday to Thursday mornings.
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