From left to right: Jill Elson, Chairman of the EDCTG; Cllr Steve Hall who persuaded all the parishes to support the grant bid when he was Mayor of Budleigh Salterton, Melanie Mock one of the co-ordinators from EDCTG and Cllr Ray Bloxham EDDC Chairman of the Parishes Together Fund.

New hospital transport for Budleigh and Exmouth areas

Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton residents will soon be able to benefit from a new transport service.

A community bus will help residents from the two towns and the surrounding villages get to the Health and Wellbeing Centre soon to be created from what is currently Budleigh Salterton Community Hospital. It will also help people from Budleigh Salterton and surrounding villages travel to Exmouth Hospital.

The tail-lift minibus will be run and managed by Exmouth and District Community Transport, which already runs three other very successful community minibuses in the area. Residents will be able to phone in advance and book their seat on the bus, which will then pick them up from their homes. 

The £21,805 needed to purchase the minibus has come from the Parishes Together Fund and was one of 26 community projects funded in 2013/ 2014. Designed to provide financial solutions to local issues, the Parishes Together Fund is a joint East Devon District Council and Devon County Council initiative in which the sum of £1.10 per elector in each parish is put into a central pot, which parish and town councils can then apply to for funding towards community projects.

The parishes of Budleigh Salterton, Colaton Raleigh, Otterton, East Budleigh with Bicton, Exmouth and Lympstone all contributed some of their funding to the minibus. 

Low fares

The Budleigh Salterton Hospital  League of Friends and Exmouth Hospital League of Friends have agreed to part-fund the ongoing running costs of the minibus, with the remaining costs being covered by low fares paid by passengers using the service.

Councillor Ray Bloxham, East Devon District Councillor and Chairman of the fund, said:

I am delighted to see how the parishes of all worked successfully together to apply for funding for this bus from our Parishes Together Fund, it is a much needed community resource.

Devon County Council Leader John Hart, said:

Devon County Council is continuing to make funds available to communities to use how they see best. This money is available to Parish and Town Councils to spend in ways that will benefit their communities.

I firmly believe decisions should be made as locally as possible to encourage local accountability and I have always advocated more partnership with our district, town and parish colleagues.

If we believe in the ‘resilience’ of our smaller communities, then this is one way of pump-priming activity.

Jill Elson, Chairman of the Exmouth and District Community Transport Group, has welcomed the new addition to their fleet.  All their drivers are fully trained and have had DBS checks.