A COMMUNITY transport scheme is appealing for volunteer drivers to help it expand across the Tees Valley.

Tees Valley Transport Brokerage, which has been operating in East Cleveland and North Yorkshire for the last three years, has been awarded Big Lottery funding to expand its services.

The new transport service, which will initially serve rural areas in Darlington, will provide transport to help combat social isolation in more remote parts of the borough.

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Initially services will be offered to those most in need of access to transport, including the elderly, people who are less mobile and young people who are unable to drive.

If successful, the project plans to expand the service to all community groups across the Tees Valley area.

Stephen Metcalf, development officer for the project said: “The project offers a win-win situation - residents benefit from increased travel opportunities, minibus owner organisations earn additional revenue towards operating costs and volunteers gain new and meaningful experiences while making a difference in their community.”

To ensure the success of the service, organisers of the project, which is managed by Tees Valley Rural Community Council, are appealing for volunteers to become minibus drivers, as well as car drivers who are willing to offer lifts for people without a car.

Car owners will be compensated for the fuel they use at the national average rate of 45p per mile.

Anyone who has problems accessing transport, would like to volunteer as a minibus or car driver, or has an underused minibus to commit to the scheme can contact Mr Metcalf on 07949-049-822 or email smetcalf@teesvalleyrcc.org.uk or visit Tees Valley Brokerage at Evolution, in Church Row, Darlington.