COMMUNITY BUS: Service hangs by a thread

Chris Brandon-King
Chris Brandon-King
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Despite the article in the Spalding Guardian on September 3 and an invitation to the people of Holbeach, not one person attended the annual meeting of the Holbeach and district community vehicle committee on September 9.

This lack of interest, despite the article explaining the difficulties the management committee has been experiencing, is extremely disappointing.

The Holbeach and District Bus has been a service provided by groups of volunteers over the past 30-plus years, which allows social groups, the elderly, disabled, young or those living in remote villages to access a self-drive 16-seat mini-bus with a tail-lift for people of limited mobility.

The chairman, Martin Howard, has been involved for the last 25 years and, in the vast majority of those, he has parked the mini-bus on his drive and kept it clean, with his wife Evelyn taking and recording bookings. They now want to enjoy their retirement.

The current secretary has been involved for the last eight years with a short break. The current treasurer has been involved over the last seven years.

All believe that new blood is required, if the facility is to be kept for Holbeach and the wider district.

We have contacted the Lincolnshire Community Volunteer Service [LCVS] to ask for help in finding volunteers to take over.

We also need a suitable spot where the bus can be kept when not in use, yet easily accessible to users, with a facility/person to hand over the keys and recording sheets, and to collect them on the bus’s return.

The town council, district councillors, well-wishers (including a donation from Chosen) and sponsors have all contributed to the success of the bus over recent years.

The most important was the grant provided by Lincolnshire County Council to help us replace the bus three years ago.

There are healthy balances in the accounts, good regular bookings and the mini-bus is in excellent condition. Do you want to throw all of that away?

So, with a heavy heart, we have to say that if no one can be found to take over between now and the end of the current financial year on March 31, the Holbeach and District Community Vehicle Committee (charity number 1069951) will have to be closed, and the assets transferred to a similar organisation with similar aims to ours.

If you are interested, please contact the LCVS on 01775 718008, email enquiry@lincolnshirecvs.org.uk or write to Lincolnshire CVS, SHDC Offices, Priory Road, Spalding, PE11 2XE.

Chris Brandon-King

Honourary treasurer

The Holbeach and district community vehicle committee