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Vehicle boost for Melksham’s community bus service

MELKSHAM’S community bus service received a boost after the Department for Transport announced they will get funding for at least one new vehicle. 

Melksham Council of Community Services made an application earlier this year for two new 16-seater buses which can be used by the community scheme which helps mainly over 50s and people with disabilities. That application has now been approved by the Department of Education who will share £25 million from the  Community Transport Minibus Fund.

However, it is not known yet whether the Melksham service will receive both buses they applied for, although they are guaranteed at least one.

The news is a boost for the service in the town which has gone from strength-to-strength since it was launched in 1986.  Initially the service only had one small mini-bus and was set up to help local residents including the elderly and disabled attend clubs, shopping trips, excursions and medical appointments.

Since then, the group has continued to grow as it has been a valuable service to many in the community and now has five buses ranging from a 14-seater to a 28-seater and all with disabled access. The group, which is a registered charity, transports nearly 20,000 passengers a year covering 35,000 miles taking passengers door-to-door to surrounding towns and villages, with transport available 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

However, the Melksham community bus service has been unable to add to their fleet in over five years. Volunteers of the group are delighted with the latest announcement from the Department of Transport. George Brown from  Melksham Council of Community Services said, “We are delighted and it is great that the service is to receive at least one bus, and hopefully we will get both that we applied for.

“It is well used in the town and it has really taken off since it was launched almost 30 years ago.

“The new bus – or buses will allow more people to get out to appointments, excursions and to the shops. Being a new vehicle it will also be more comfortable and will be a huge benefit to many people.”

The Melksham Council of Community Services  are always looking for new volunteers to join their team.

To find out contact Melksham Tourist Information Centre on 01225 707424 or visit www.mccs.org.uk