Thousands donated to support Mid Beds Link-A-Ride service
Ampthill Town Council has donated over £4,000 to Link-A-Ride
In 2018, following a tender process the community transport service, Link-A-Ride, lost funding from Central Bedfordshire Council.
Despite the setback the service has continued to provide a business as usual service for the residents in Ampthill and surrounding areas.
Over the past 18 months Ampthill Town Council has followed developments closely and with the help of their Central Bedfordshire Councillors, challenged the outcome of the tender process with Central Bedfordshire Council’s Leader James Jamieson.
Each year the town council supports community groups with grant awards, normally up to £500, assisting the work they do.
Ampthill Town Council considered a second ‘hardship funding request’ from the group, resulting in the largest single grant award in recent years to any one community group.
The £4,684 donation to Link-A-Ride’s manager Cheryl Coverdale, will support the continuation of the service, while other sustainable funding sources can be identified.
The town council plans to work with Cheryl in exploring the diversification of services offered, supporting all age groups in the community.
Working with surrounding town and parish councils, they hope to achieve sponsorship for trial routes between the towns and villages.
Cllr Ian Titman said: "Link-a-ride has been an integral part of this community for many years.
"From the outside it may look like just another bus service, but where else do you get picked up and dropped off at your home at an appointed time?
"Where else do the drivers know your name?
"Where else would you get drivers checking up on passengers well-being?
"This isn't just a bus service, this is so much more, hence why Ampthill Town Council will be working with them to ensure they continue to serve our community."
A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson said: “We are pleased to see that Link-a-ride are developing alternative funding streams to support the delivery of their service.
"As a Council, we recognise what a vital service these dial-a-ride buses provide, particularly to the elderly and disabled who are unable to use scheduled bus services, which is why we contribute £250,000 towards three services in our area.
"Whilst Link-a-Ride did not win the contract for our Mid Beds service, it is now available through a different provider.
"Residents who want to use the new dial-a-ride service in the Mid Beds area can contact BRCC (also known as Greensands Community Transport) www.greensands.org.uk.”