A VITAL community bus service has been saved thanks to grant funding and generous local fundraising efforts. 

The Tamar Valley Community Bus which provides a door-to-door service for  passengers, mainly the elderly at the risk of isolation, has been saved thanks to funds being raised for a new bus to be ordered.

This comes as there were fears earlier in the year that the vital service could be at risk of stopping if a replacement bus wasn’t found. 

Due to tremendous fundraising efforts, plus support from grants including a £10,000 grant awarded by Calstock Parish Council, the committee that run The Tamar Valley Community Transport Association, known as the Tamar Valley Community Bus, has managed to raise a considerable £60,000 which has enabled them to purchase a brand-new Mercedes bus. 

Chair of the committee, Carol Green is delighted that the new bus is on its way and said it will hopefully be here in the New Year. 

Carol said: “We’ve got a new bus on order which we’re hoping will arrive in January/beginning of February and we’re delighted. We’ve raised £60,000 which with the part exchange for the old bus will get us there, but it’s tight!

A replacement bus was needed as the bus currently in operation is proving costly as it is in need of continuous repair.

Carol expressed her excitement at the prospect of the arrival of the new bus after reaching their fundraising target.

“The van is being built for us as we speak! It will hopefully be more disabled friendly and will also be environmentally friendly.”

The bus service provides a lifeline for the parish’s ageing population who use the service to do shopping, visit the doctor’s surgery with the bus also serving as a social lifeline as the group takes the passengers on a selection of trips and outings.

To raise money for a new bus the group organised fundraising events such as a ‘Glee Afternoon’, a quiz and also had a table at the village hall market. This coupled with support from the community and grants has allowed this social lifeline to be secured for the future.

“The support we’ve had from the community has been amazing”, said Carol.

“I think we’ve all realised how incredibly lucky we are to have the bus. For a lot of our passengers, for them to get out and about is impossible, so the bus is invaluable for rural communities. It’s worth its weight in gold. We’re very aware that if it went, it wouldn’t come back.”

The passengers were told during their Christmas lunch outing and it has already been decided that one of their passengers, 99-year-old Val will be cutting the ribbon during the launch of the new bus next year.