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Community travel prepares to return in Rochford

1 March 2021
A smiling woman drives the Wyvern Community Transport van

A community transport charity, which has delivered food parcels to more than 400 residents during the pandemic, has secured funding to get back on the road and provide a vital transport service to vulnerable residents in Rochford.  

Wyvern Community Transport received support with fleet costs from Beech Grove Homes and Sanctuary Housing, including a contribution towards the cost of adapting the minibuses so they can run safely when restrictions lift.

Beech Grove Homes, which is working with construction partner Hill to build 72 homes at Bullwood Gardens in nearby Hockley, provided the charity with £5,000 funding through its MORE! initiative.

The MORE! programme sees Beech Grove Homes’ development partners work alongside them to add further value to areas where homes are being constructed, by donating skills, resources and equipment to help important local community projects.

Sanctuary Housing’s Maureen’s Gift Fund, which provides grants to run community projects, topped up the donation with an extra £1,000 to support the charity’s vital work.

Inside the minibuses, most passenger seats have been removed and screens have been installed around the driver and remaining seats so people can sit at a safe distance from each other. PPE stations with hand sanitiser, facemasks and disposable gloves have also been added.

Chris Silvey, Sanctuary’s Neighbourhood Partnerships Manager, said: “We’re so pleased to support Wyvern overcome the barriers they have faced and we look forward to seeing people travelling on the minibuses again.”

Tracy Chapman, Transport Manager from Wyvern Community Transport, added: “The minibus adaptations mean that we will be able to offer ‘Dial a Ride’ journeys again, which will be compliant with the new mitigation measures required going forward.

“I would also like to say a big thank you to the 12 volunteers who have helped us to deliver food parcels to residents during these difficult times.”

One food parcel recipient commented: “What Wyvern has been doing for months is the kindest, most helpful, supportive and loving thing. I don’t know if they all realise how much it has meant to so many of us.”

Chairman of Wyvern Community Transport and Rochford Committee Councillor June Lumley, said: "This grant has made a huge difference, enabling Wyvern to be prepared for transporting our vulnerable and isolated residents in Rochford as soon as their community activities, clubs and shops are open to them again."

Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community, Councillor Mike Webb, added: “I would like to thank Wyvern Community Transport for the incredible work they have undertaken during the pandemic, delivering food parcels to some of our most vulnerable residents.

“I would also like to thank Beech Grove Homes for providing funding to assist this great organisation to get back on the road and provide help where it is needed.” 

To find out more about Wyvern Community Transport, call 01268 753513 or visit Wyvern Community Transport.

For more information about Beech Grove Homes’ Bullwood Gardens development in Hockley, visit Bullwood Gardens.