A VILLAGE bus link that enables youngsters to take part in after-school activities is looking for volunteers to help it expand.

Drivers and escorts are needed by the SPS (Shadforth, Pittington, West Rainton and Sherburn) Parishes Transport project to help people get to venues where no public transport is available.

"We're looking for about half a dozen people to become drivers and escorts," said Raymond Pye, the area's Durham county councillor.

"Minibus driver training and escort training will be given to those willing to give up their time so young people can access out-of-school activities and other residents of the villages can get to venues difficult to access."

The Vital Village Bus link was launched last month and provides free transport home to surrounding villages for pupils at Belmont Comprehensive School, on the outskirts of Durham, who want to take part in after-school activities.

Up to 30 students a night make use of the service, which has enabled the school to set up a new drama group.

Headteacher Patrick Howarth said: "Because of the success of the scheme, and the benefits that extra-curricular activities can have, we're making plans to extend the range of activities and provide transport to enable children to take part in them."

Would-be volunteers can contact Mr Howarth at the school on 0191-386 5715.