Sudbury: Support our bus service, firms urged

THE future of a community bus service in west Suffolk will hinge on the support it receives from businesses – according to the charity’s founder.

Go START was launched at the beginning of the year to replace the Sudbury Town Area Rural Transport (START) – which has provided a vast range of transport services for local people and organisations in and around Sudbury for nearly a decade – which closed last month due to a lack of funding.

Group founder John Phillips, who will be attending tonight’s Babergh Business Evening at the Stoke By Nayland Hotel alongside the EADT to promote the new service, said numerous volunteers were stepping forward to help run the service.

“Obviously this is great and we need all the help we can get,” said Mr Phillips. “What we need now is the business community to show its support. It is more than likely that anyone running a business in this area will know someone who has benefitted from the community buses we have been running. To keep this service going we need them to show their support.”

Mr Phillips is appealing for every company and business in Sudbury to donate a minimum of �10 to help run the service.

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He said: “We have volunteers who want to drive, volunteers who will answer phones, volunteers who will shuffle paper and now even one who has a BTEC in car maintenance has offered to do routine service work.

“What we really need is funding or sponsorship of some sort for our new vehicles. There are well over 1,000 businesses in the Sudbury area. Even a small contribution from all of these could secure our future.”

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Go START is aiming to continue a vital service to vulnerable and isolated people in the district.

Its buses will provide access to doctor’s surgeries, to friends, transport to schools and transport services for several charitable causes. Its services also allow otherwise isolated people to engage in social activities and carry out simple tasks such as shopping for food and other essentials.

Mr Phillips has been in negotiations with several funding organisations and has now received some encouraging feedback from Suffolk County Council.

“I am very confident Suffolk County Council will provide Go START with some financial support, but we are still negotiating on the amount. Any money we get from the county council will be a great help.”

Tonight’s Babergh Business Evening has been running for 15 years and provides an opportunity for the district council to talk with business leaders to form new partnerships between the public and private sectors.

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 or by email at townclerk@sudburytown

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