On Friday, 17th November at noon the Malpas Community Minibus was launched in the village, thanks to the efforts of the local community. Over the past twelve months a dedicated group of volunteers has raised the £40,000 required to provide a new minibus for the village, which will offer much needed transport to charities and local community organisations.
Public transport in rural Cheshire is a major issue and statistics reflect the fact that poor transport leads to rural isolation for people of all ages. Plans are afoot to use the minibus to improve access to cultural events at the Storyhouse, other theatres and concert venues, local attractions, sporting events, and shopping trips.
The minibus will operate as a community resource under a Section 19 permit for non- profit use and will require trained volunteer drivers. Seven drivers have been trained so far and several others await the Midas course. Additional drivers are still sought.
What is special about the bus is that it will be available, under certain circumstances, to collect and deliver passengers from home, offering a bespoke service and making it suitable for those needing a bit of extra help. The first trips will be to transport the members of Malpas Opal Club to and from their twice weekly club at Craddock Court. Malpas Opal Club initiated the idea and have been staunch supporters and funders of the minibus.
So far, requests for the use of the bus have come from groups serving all age groups, from toddlers to schoolchildren, teenagers, young adults and older people.
The star of the event was 7 year old Rosie Jakeman who won the competition held at Malpas Alport Primary School to design the logo for Malpas Community Minibus.
Donations and grant funds towards the cost of the bus have come from CWaC Rural Support Grant, Malpas Parish Council, who have also contributed to Year 1 running costs, Malpas Opal Club, The Rotary Club of Whitchurch, Malpas Young Persons Centre, The CCG, Malpas Surgery Patients Comfort Fund, Bovis Homes, Sanctuary Housing, The Earl of Chester's Fund, JPCS, St Oswald's Church, St Oswald's Masonic Lodge, Berry Fresh Bakery and several other corporate donors and individuals.
At Friday's Launch Antoinette Sandbach, MP, said, " It was a delightful day which celebrated the huge achievement of the community in fundraising and demonstrated Malpas' thriving spirit that thinks of, and acts to support others. Well done to all who worked so hard. Rosie's bus will make a huge difference to so many".