Exmouth transport charity facing fight to stay on the road

PUBLISHED: 12:21 25 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:26 30 June 2020

The buses of Exmouth and District Community Transport Group are back providing trips following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Exmouth and District Community Transport Group

The buses of Exmouth and District Community Transport Group are back providing trips following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Exmouth and District Community Transport Group

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A charity that helps transport those unable to travel by themselves has started its trips again but requires funding to stay afloat.

A charity that helps transport those unable to travel by themselves has started its trips again, but requires funding to stay afloat.

Due to social distancing, the Exmouth and District Community Transport Group buses have returned but are currently limited to two passengers at a time, with the drivers wearing PPE to ensure passengers’ safety.

Chairman Jill Elson said: “This has been our hardest time since I formed the charity. We are very grateful to Devon County Council (DCC), East Devon District Council (EDDC) and all our parishes for supporting us and several paying us in April.

“Financially we have not had the income to cover the costs of our services. We are paying for two office staff and three drivers since lockdown to ensure we can provide a service to our passengers. We wish to continue to prevent social isolation as many of our passengers are living alone and in rural locations.”

The charity applied for two grants, one from National Lottery for Covid-19 and the other from the Charities Aid Foundation for Covid-19 but were unsuccessful in both cases. They have now received £7,600 from the DCC Response and Recovery Fund to cover 12 weeks.

Earlier in the year, the charity raised £50,000 to purchase a new eight-seater bus but it has yet to arrive from Italy due to the lockdown.

In a usual summer the charity would have three days per week of local shopping trips as well as trips to local pubs and restaurants; however, with social distancing rules, that number has reduced.

Jill Elson said: “We will be able to carry three passengers per bus on our temporary timetable with the new one-metre plus rule and we have been taking two since June 1 to the local seafronts just to get people out of their four walls.

“We are now looking at our timetable and talking to our passengers as to what they would like us to provide.”

People can donate by cheque or drop cash in to our office or give to one of our drivers. If they are a taxpayer by using ‘Gift Aid’. More information can be found at www.exmouthringandride.org.uk


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