Wed, 25 Apr 2018
BUCKLEBURY celebrated the return of its community bus this week after the new vehicle made its first three school runs to Kennet School in Thatcham.
The village needed a more reliable minibus to provide a devolved school transport service to replace the axed non-statutory school bus for pupils between Upper Bucklebury and Thatcham.
The community bus is also available for local primary school use during the school day and to transport villagers to and from events in the parish, such as Candle-Lit Carols and Bucklebury Beerfest.
The transport scheme was initially launched in 2016 after West Berkshire Council withdrew its funding for a subsidised service following £17.5m cuts.
The new vehicle was largely funded by the Community Solutions Fund (CSF), which supplied £12,000 of the £14,000 required, while profits from the sale of the old minibus were also used.
The CSF fund is a collaboration between West Berkshire Council and Greenham Trust, which provides start-up funding to help community-based projects.
Residents in Bucklebury are making the most of their new Community Bus funded by the @Greenham_Trust and West Berkshire Council's Community Solutions Fund. Find out how the Fund could help your community: https://t.co/i0J1NjLFeK pic.twitter.com/LG9Xt1URDJ— West Berkshire (@WestBerkshire) April 23, 2018
It was set up to fund a number of public services – including buses, libraries and children’s centres – which were scrapped entirely or passed over to town and parish councils last year after the district council saw its government grant slashed by 44 per cent.
Bucklebury community bus trustee Anne Hillerton, who submitted the grant application, said: “We are extremely grateful for the CSF grant.
“Having a newer minibus will remove the significant pressure to fulfil not only the school runs but will also be a valuable resource for the wider community.
“I sent the CSF panel a thank you card with a red kite on the front as they really have given us wings to fly.”
West Berkshire Council principal policy officer Jo Naylor said: “I’m delighted that we were able to help Bucklebury to buy their minibus.
“It’s a great example of communities working together to get things done and providing an asset that will benefit Bucklebury greatly.”
Greenham Trust chief executive Chris Boulton said he was pleased to support the much-needed funding, alongside West Berkshire Council.
The Bucklebury community will continue to raise funds to maintain and sustain the minibus.
Details of upcoming events can be found on the Bucklebury Community Group Facebook Page and on posters and flyers around the village.