Council pledges £2,000 towards new lifeline bus
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 November 2019
A lifeline transport service for isolated and lonely residents has been given a fundraising boost.
Budleigh Salterton Town Council has agreed to pledge £2,000 towards Exmouth Community Transport (ECT) to help pay for a new bus.
ECT needs to find £53,000 in order to purchase a much needed replacement vehicle and has so far generated £17,000.
Speaking at Budleigh Salterton Town Council's November meeting, councillor Lynda Evans, vice chairman of ECT, estimated the sale of the old bus would raise an additional £8,000.
She said the service - which serves residents in Exmouth, Budleigh and the surrounding villages - helps people who cannot walk or drive themselves.
Cllr Evans said: "They enjoy going out for a pub lunch, they are people who don't talk to anybody all week until they get on the bus.
"It's a social event and to keep people living in isolation not feeling so bad.
"We have an added problem that we have to get people to hospital appointments…the only way they can get there is on our bus and it is affordable.
"If you hired a taxi, the cost is colossal and our buses are a total lifeline."
She said they take residents to the cinema in the winter months and a simple trip to the beach can make all the difference to someone living in isolation.
Cllr Evans said: "If you live in a room and that's the room you live in for six days of the week, just the sheer smell of the sea is a real treat."
Budleigh Salterton Town Council voted in favour of pledging £2,000 and said it could review that figure prior to the donation being made.
Jill Elson, chairman of ECT, said: "We have got a larger bus that holds 16 passengers and that is now beginning to fail maintenance wise therefore it is costing a lot of money to keep it on the road.
"The essential thing about our service is we have got two buses and, with more people living independently in their homes, we are trying to prevent isolation and loneliness."
For more information about the services ECT provides, go to http://www.exmouthringandride.org.uk/