A COMMUNITY transport operator is calling for support in an ambitious bid to raise £25,000 for a much needed new bus.

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Coastal Accessible Transport (CATS) – which is based in Leiston and already provides services throughout the Suffolk Coastal area between the Deben and Blyth estuaries – needs the new vehicle to meet growing demand after recently taking over community transport services in the Lowestoft area.

Central to the bid will be CATS’ own fundraising activities, but it will also be calling on funding groups, local businesses and statutory organisations to help it raise the £25,000 needed to purchase a 16-seat, wheelchair accessible, minibus. The new bus would join CATS’ existing fleet of minibuses, which is used to help hundreds of passengers to attend medical appointments, go shopping, enjoy social activities and to visit relatives and friends.

Sammy Betson, CATS business development manager, said: “We recently took over community transport services from another organisation in the Lowestoft area, and as part of that arrangement we inherited some of their vehicles. Unfortunately, one of them is no longer fit for purpose, so we need a new one.

“The new vehicle would provide us with a fleet of eight vehicles which would allow us to meet the growing demands we now have and continue to provide the appropriate level of services we run throughout the coastal Suffolk area, including parishes such as Leiston, Aldeburgh, Saxmundham, Framligham, Woodbridge and Yoxford.

“We are looking for a pre-used vehicle as you can get them in superb condition with all the requirements we need, so this is the most cost-effective way forward.

“We really hope the local community and the statutory organisations get behind this initiative so we can continue to provide transport services to the local community.

“Our services make a huge difference to the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds, many of whom would be left isolated or be unable to carry out simple every day tasks without access to transport.”

If you would like to help CATS telephone 01728 830516.

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