‘Desperate’ plea for transport service

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A “lifeline” community transport service in Belper has launched a desperate appeal for more volunteers to help it keep running.

Community Transport for Town and County (CT4TC) runs buses for people who can’t manage ordinary transport – usually wheelchair users.

It also supports church groups, neighbourhood schemes, lunch clubs, groups for the disabledand nursing homes throughout the Belper area.

However, after a dip in people willing to drive the buses and meet wheelchair users to help transport them from the bus to their desitnation the service is urgently trying to recruit new volunteers.

Carey Toplass, from CT4TC, said: “We are looking for people who are able to give a regular commitment. We realise some people can give more time than others and so can work with individuals availability providing they are able to do enough to warrant the training.

“We have many groups in the Belper area who use us regularly – we will use volunteers on many of these jobs – especially the jobs when the group is going out for the day.We also have the community car scheme which operates in the Belper area taking people to essential health appointments etc – these are all volunteers.”

CT4TC has two sites which serve Belper – the main base in Ripley and another site in Chesterfield. There are 46 vehicles in total ranging from people carriers, through tominibuses right up to a 49seat coach.

Ms Toplass continued: “Both of the bases are desperately looking for more volunteers to drive the smaller minibuses (up to 16 seats) or even Chesterfield’s bigger vehicles if they have the appropriate licence. For the smaller buses the person must have the D1 category – most people who passed their test before 1997 will have this automatically. There is comprehensive in-house training covering both the driving and the wheelchair handling.

“People are also needed to help the wheelchair users around the shops. This would involve meeting a Dial a Bus in the town.”