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New bus joins charity’s “social club on wheels” fleet

Posted on October 31, 2018

A new bus has been added to a Great Yarmouth community transport fleet whose passengers call it a “social club on wheels.”

The £38,000 Peugeot Boxer takes Centre 81’s fleet of fully-accessible buses to 11. They provide affordable transport for almost 650 regular passengers across the borough as well as many of the centre’s members attending skills and activities at the charity’s Tar Works Road base.

Chief executive Diana Staines said: “Our buses are available for anyone in the borough to use. Without them, many people would struggle to get around for important medical appointments, shopping trips or even social days out.  People call our fleet a social club on wheels because it gives them so much fun and freedom. The Centre 81 vehicles are a lifeline for many people and we’re thrilled to have a new bus on the road.”

It was bought using grants from a series of charitable funds, including one achieved thanks to Centre 81 supporters voting online. The largest contributions were £15,000 from the historic Clothmakers’ Foundation, £7000 from the Hopkins Homes charitable fund, and £5000 from the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, ACT Foundation and Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation. The Hopkins cash resulted from Centre 81 topping a public vote against five other causes in Norfolk.

Joshua Hopkins, of the Hopkins Charitable Fund said: “I am delighted to hear that Centre 81 has taken delivery of their new minibus and that the funds from the Hopkins Charitable Fund have helped make this possible. I was very moved by the dedication shown by staff and volunteers when I visited the charity last year and I have no doubt that this new bus will help them to continue and increase the valuable work they carry out in the community.”

All Centre 81’s buses are fully-accessible, fitted with a combination of seats and wheelchair spaces, and a tail-lift so that so that anyone can use them, not only for everyday trips like hospital appointments and visits to the supermarket but also for groups trips to restaurants and the theatre. It is particularly well used by people who can’t access conventional public transport and who might otherwise feel isolated and lonely.

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