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8 January 2007

Funding joy for Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus

But vital Buchan service still only funded 59% - The Buchan Observer

BUCHAN Dial-a-Community Bus has received funding from the Scottish Executive's Rural Community Transport Initiative which will enable them to continue their work through to 2011.

The project has received a further three years funding from April 2008 to run a variety of different community transport projects including door to door shopping services, transport to medical facilities, group use services as well as evening transport for young people.

Dial-a-Community Bus (DACB) manager Mrs Rachel Milne was overjoyed at the news; admittng: "Our present funding runs out in spring 2008 and the news from the Rural Community Transport Initiative that they were prepared to continue to fund the project was fantastic - a wonderful Christmas present, and a real testament to the need for our services.

"Our customers have grown to rely on DACB over the past six years and now we can continue to offer an affordable transport alternative to those people who cannot use public transport."

But Rachel added a cautionary note warning: "We have been given 59% of our running costs which is phenomenal but it still means that we have to continue to fundraise to make up the shortfall. We will still be selling raffle tickets, holding coffee mornings and bingo nights so I hope the local community will remain as supportive as they have always been."

Dial-a-Community Bus currently has three minibuses and a volunteer car service provide transport for those clients who may not be able to access public transport due to infirmity, disability, social or rural isolation.

They have grown from a one day a week Maud based shopping service to a major community transport provider in Aberdeenshire.

Dial-a-Community Bus has also works in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council's Public Transport Unit to deliver the A2B Dial-a-Bus services in the Peterhead and Fraserburgh area as part of the Council's A2B Demand Responsive Transport scheme.

They also manage the Shopmobility project from the portacabin in Maiden Street Car park Peterhead, in collaboration with Aberdeenshire Council's social work department.

Rachel is enormously proud of Dial-a-Community Bus's growth, stating: "When the first five day a week shopping service and community group use buses started working in 2000, I don't think anyone realised the potential, but it has grown exponentially over the years and will probably continue to do so.

"The volunteers and staff work extremely hard to ensure that they help as many groups and individuals as possible and I know that the local community are very proud of 'their' buses."

Earlier this year DACB were the focus of a Member's Debate in the Scottish Parliament when local MSP Stewart Stevenson raised a motion to congratulate both DACB and the Banffshire Partnership for providing essential transport services in areas with virtually no public transport.

During that debate the Minister of Transport Tavish Scott paid tribute to DACB when he said:

"It is probably one of most innovative local schemes of its type and one of the best in Scotland."

to read original story click on The Buchan Observer

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