A New Minibus for Wisborough Green
Our turn has come round this year and we are expecting to take delivery in the summer of a brand new, state of the art, Ford Transit minibus – our first ‘new’ minibus since Pat Crichton Smith’s wonderful legacy in 2006 purchased the original WG minibus for the village.
This is exciting news and I should very much appreciate hearing from anyone who feels they could devote one or two mornings a month to help maintain our service to those who otherwise might become progressively more isolated – the minibus can become a lifeline to some, being their only means of transport and, in many cases, I hope it is also a great source of friendship. A volunteer driver is assessed by the Association’s Training Manager to familiarise them with the operation, manoeuvring and limitations of a minibus and has to obtain a D1 category from the DVLA to add to his or her licence. Drivers are always accompanied by an escort who is there to help passengers on and off the bus, to ensure seat belts are fastened, to lend an arm if necessary, to help with shopping bags and, if requested, to see passengers to their front door; he or she also collects the relevant fares.
As many of you will know the Community Minibus Association in West Susses is a registered charity for the community, run entirely by unpaid volunteers. The charity has been helping people get out and about in rural West Sussex for more than 40 years.
In Wisborough Green we presently have a team of dedicated volunteers – 11 drivers and 7 escorts, who serve our membership. With a limited service bus operation in the village, the door to door service offered by our minibus for both regular shopping trips (to the centre of such destinations as Chichester, Horsham, Cranleigh, Guildford, and Worthing) and for monthly special outings is invaluable. Returning our passengers safely to their homes and assisting them, if required, with carrying their shopping is all part of the service. Our minibus also offers special trips and excursions to provide variety as well as enjoyment, e.g. in 2019 our schedule of monthly visits included the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Firle Place in Lewes, and Eltham Palace in Greenwich.
You can become a member of the Association simply by living in Wisborough Green and paying a small annual membership fee (£8), the fare for the individual trips is charged according to the destination (e.g. £3.00 round-trip Horsham and Cranleigh, £5 round-trip Chichester and Guildford). These fares are kept at an economical level whilst maintaining a safe and enjoyable service for all. We would very much like to increase our present membership in order for our minibus to continue to be a viable operation for the village. We also welcome Clubs and Associations as group members, the annual fee is £30 and the minibus can be booked for trips at a cost worked out on a set scale for the destination required.
Please note that our members are not limited to those over a certain age – travel on the minibus is open to all. We would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to join. Also, should anyone feel they could devote one or two mornings a month as either a driver or escort volunteer, do please let me know. Thank you.
Pat Farmer, Divisional Organiser
Tel: 01403 700492 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org