Can you help keep community bus on road?

Market Harborough Community driver Tom Brodie
Market Harborough Community driver Tom Brodie

A community mini-bus which helps disabled and elderly people in Harborough will be forced to close unless new volunteers are found.

There has been an urgent appeal for new committee members to come forward to save the Market Harborough Community Vehicle, which has been running since the early 1970s.

It is facing closure due to the illness of its chairman.

Maureen Bindley, one of two remaining committee members, said: “I really don’t want it to fold.

“I’ve been involved since the 1980s, and my husband has been a driver for 13 years.

“It’s such a valuable service for people, run purely by volunteers, and we’re trying in every direction to get help.”

The group estimates that it helps between 600 and 800 people a year, transporting them to disabled swimming lessons at leisure centres, church groups, health centres to help those who have suffered from strokes or garden centres.

It runs two minibuses that are well equipped, although one has been slightly damaged over time.

Both remain usable and comfortable, but the need for volunteers has become vital if the service is to continue.

Mrs Bindley added: “We have done our utmost to keep it on the road, but we can’t do that without help.

“We already have a dedicated team of drivers, and have received donations.

“But it’s just volunteers we need – volunteers that want to help people have a better standard of living, and actually help them have a life.

“We have had talks about joining with another company that do a similar service, but at the minute we’re trying our hardest to keep it on the road.

“A lot of the people we take are aged in their 90s, and lots of them can’t walk.

“Unless they have a service such as ours, they probably wouldn’t go out.

“Sadly, our chairman is unwell, and we really need a replacement.

“We have our own land, and own garages, but we need someone to be able to negotiate with the hospital trust, someone who knows business, and just someone to help – I can’t do it on my own.”

Alongside a new chairman, volunteers are needed to help with the running and administration of the service.

She said: “What we look for in volunteers is a full and dedicated team who just want to help people and want to give something back to the community.

“This has been running for nearly 40 years, and it would be a shame for it to end now.”

If you can help, you can telephone Mrs Bindley on 01858 431848.