Sudbury: Residents helping to save community bus

SUPPORT to safeguard the future of a town’s community bus link has already started to flood in following the launch of an EADT campaign.

The paper has joined forces with organisers of Go START to ensure the vital service continues, following cuts to funding for the Sudbury Town Area Rural Transport (START) buses.

Within days of announcing the campaign John Phillips, founder of Go START, said they were already receiving calls.

He said: “We had six people on the first day saying they were prepared to be volunteer drivers on our buses. Two wanted to join the board of trustees and another who said he was prepared to help us with the mountain of paperwork that comes with running a charity.

“It’s very exciting and proves the level of support that is out there for this vital service.”

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He said many people had spoken to him since the launch of the campaign stating their support and offering help in the future.

The existing START service, which has ferried elderly, disabled people and schoolchildren across the district for the past 10 years was forced to announce its closure last year when funding was cut.

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Determined to keep the service on the road Mr Phillips and his team of drivers and volunteers set up Go START in the hope of replacing it.

“All the support we are receiving is great but without financial investment this won’t work,” said Mr Phillips. “Keeping buses on the road all day, every day, is very expensive and our current buses are in need of work if we are to make this a success.”

He said he was hoping to hear from companies prepared to sponsor Go START and the charity’s vehicles.

The campaign has already received backing from Sudbury Town Council and Suffolk ACRE – an organisation which supports rural communities in the county.

Go START aims to maintain the majority of services run by START, including a dial-a-ride service, transport for elderly people attending hospital appointments, transport for wheelchair users, a drop-off service for pupils attending local schools, transport for disabled people and a number of charity groups.

Anyone who can help or wants to support Go START should contact John Phillips on 01787 310840 or 07718 736366, or Sue Brotherwood, at Sudbury Town Council, on 01787 372331.

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