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Community transport service celebrates £35,000 minibus boost

PUBLISHED: 16:12 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 28 June 2018

North Norfolk Community Transport driver Vic Evans helps regular passenger Sylvia Clemow, 82, with her shopping
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

North Norfolk Community Transport driver Vic Evans helps regular passenger Sylvia Clemow, 82, with her shopping Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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North Norfolk Community Transport (NNCT) passengers are set to travel in style, after the charity took delivery of a new, £35,000 minibus, paid for with a grant from a trust set up by supermarket giant Morrisons.

North Norfolk Community Transport passengers take a trip to Morrison's, Cromer, on the charity's new minibus
Photo: KAREN BETHELLNorth Norfolk Community Transport passengers take a trip to Morrison's, Cromer, on the charity's new minibus Photo: KAREN BETHELL

When NNCT driver Vic Evans got chatting to Morrisons Cromer community champion Simon Clipsom while taking his regular group of elderly passengers on their weekly shopping trip, the pair hatched a plan to help the charity replace one of its older minibuses with a new model. Mr Clipsom suggested applying for a grant from the Morrisons Foundation, which has donated more than £15 million to charities supporting their local communities, and the pair took their idea to NNCT chief executive Claire Abbs.

“I think Simon saw there was a real community need,” Ms Abbs said. “We bring groups to Morrisons to go shopping, but they tend to meet up and have a cup of tea, so it is quite a social occasion – it is the kind of support that helps people keep their independence,”

Morrisons Cromer community champion Simon Clipsom handing over the keys to a new, £35,000 minibus to North Norfolk Community Transport chief executive Claire Abbs
Photo: KAREN BETHELLMorrisons Cromer community champion Simon Clipsom handing over the keys to a new, £35,000 minibus to North Norfolk Community Transport chief executive Claire Abbs Photo: KAREN BETHELL

NNCT, which aims to fill the gaps left by conventional public transport, provides accessible minibus travel to schools, colleges and community groups, as well as offering a ‘Coastal Connections’ Dial a Ride service which provides door to door transport to elderly and isolated people across the area.

The charity, which runs 16 minibuses, also takes passengers on trips out to local attractions.

The keys to the new minibus were handed over last week, with Mr Evans’s passengers using it for the first time on Tuesday.

Kathleen Mace, 70, who lives at East Beckham with her husband Edward, 83, said that, without the bus, she would be “completely stuck”.

“Our nearest bus stop is a one-and-a-half-mile walk and it is just too expensive to keep using taxis,” she explained.

Fellow passenger Rose Jerome, 87, uses the service twice a week with friend and neighbour Pat Knopp. She said: “We both live at Weybourne and it is a lifesaver, it is lovely to get out and our driver is absolutely amazing.”

Thanking Morrisons colleagues for their support, Mr Clipsom said: “This is the biggest cheque presented by the foundation to a store in East Anglia and we are really pleased to support North Norfolk Community Transport as in such a rural area, services like this are vital.”

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