The West Sussex minibus charity celebrated its 40 years of volunteer activity on 12 May at the Music Room, Champs Hill, Coldwaltham, graciously hosted by the Bowerman Charitable Trust. The charity was also very honoured by the attendance by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Mrs Susan Pyper who kindly presented awards to some of the volunteers. Ten of the volunteers receiving awards totalled a combined 300 years of involvement in the charity.
The Community Minibus Association (West Sussex) is a registered charity and has been providing door to door transport services since its initial service in early 1976. The organisation is unique in that it is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, in varying roles such as drivers, passenger escorts, booking staff, fleet managers, divisional organisers and others who ensure the day to day running of the charity.
Attendance included president Sir Brian Barttelot OBE, and vice president Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP, VIP’s from local District and Parish Councils, and other local charitable organisations such as Age UK, together with over 100 volunteers from the charity’s 8 centres of operation.
The service operates in rural West Sussex, using 13 minibuses with centres located in Ashington, Billingshurst, Five Villages (south of A27), Petworth, Pulborough, Storrington, Steyning and Wisborough Green.
Registered passengers are able to join regular trips to shopping centres, lunch clubs, seaside locations, social events and also to special excursions. Associate membership is also possible for organised groups.
Chairman Alistair Sheppard OBE, who conducted the day’s proceedings, reviewing the past, present, and future of the charity, commented that “passengers enjoy our friendly service, and look forward to meeting both new friends and old during their trips. Our tremendous group of unpaid volunteers over 40 years of activity, and hopefully 40 years more, help to maintain our essential support to the local community of rural West Sussex.”