A transport scheme has been launched to help older and disabled people across the borough stay mobile, with help from lottery funding.
Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) is providing the transport facilities to help over 65s and those with a disability to travel and meet social, recreational or other engagements.
Wheels In Motion was launched at Riseley Village Hall on Thursday, October 2 and will complement the existing door to door provision within the borough.
Stressing the importance of rural transport to Bedford Borough, Councillor Charles Royden congratulated all those that have been working to bring the Wheels in Motion project into fruition following a Big Lottery funding award of £400,000 over a five year period.
Jon Boswell, BRCC chief executive, speaking to the audience of potential customers, transport service providers, parish and borough councillors and village agents explained how the provision will address issues those in rural communities face in not being able to use existing transport services with this often leading to isolation. Jon thanked members of the public who have already signed up to volunteer with Wheels in Motion and said the role of volunteers for the future of rural transport solutions will be key.
In addition to welcoming volunteer drivers, and administrative help, a user group is to be set up to continue to establish local needs for the future.
Two services will make up the Wheels in Motion provision - a community car service which will use volunteers driving their own cars to provide lifts to people, and a service using paid drivers and adapted accessible vehicles.
Together these will introduce a more viable option to rural areas than the continuing door to door service which is also run by BRCC and funded by Bedford Borough. The key factor for Wheels in Motion passengers is that they will not be required to forfeit their bus passes to use the service.
Adapted vehicles which were presented for viewing at the launch, attracted interest and approval from those present.
Mrs S Hargreaves, a local resident who struggles with organising transport suitable for her husband, said that hearing about the service had “made her day”. She is only too aware that “it is the ease of use, not just the cost that is critical”.
For further information and to join the Wheels In Motion scheme call Amy Baker on 01234 345558