Rural transports services are social clubs on wheels

People in isolated villages are being given a life-line by community transports services which have received more than £76,000 of support from SNC's Community Grants scheme.

Published: Thursday, 30th May 2019

The largest grant of £59,000 went to Ability Community Transport, a social enterprise which is providing a service halfway between a taxi and a fixed route bus service.

For a membership fee and reasonable fares, the service has been providing regular shopping trips between villages in the east of the district and Northampton in addition to one off day trips further afield.

Nigel Hinch, who co-founded the service with wife Lynn, said: “It is a public service, so it’s open to anyone. But our focus is on people with mobility issues and who lack their own transport.

“The wife and I have been volunteering for 50 years with various organisations and it gives us such pleasure to interact with people, to get them where they need to go and for many this is a life line.

“We get to know our customers, we get to understand their personal needs, where they’ll want to go and what help they’ll need along the way.

“And it’s very friendly; the passengers get to know each other as well as we know them, sometimes it’s more of a social club than a bus service.”

Ability Community Transports is planning to expand services from communities in the east of South Northamptonshire towards the west and recently started operating in Whittlebury which has been without any public bus service for 18 months.

For more information visit The Ability Community Transport website or call call 07799 52097.

Cogenhoe and Whiston Parish Council also received a £15,000 grant towards their consortium behind the Village Hopper service which currently connects 1,300 passengers a month to Northampton, Wellingborough and Wollaston. For more information visit Cogenhoe and Whiston Parish Council website, or call the Parish Clerk on 01933 663918.

Helmdon Parish Council also received a £950 grant from SNC to team up with Greatworth Parish Council to provide a weekly community bus service connecting the villages with Banbury. For more information visit the Helmdon Parish Council website or call the Parish Clerk on 01295 768588.