United effort to fund new minibus

Major Jonny Bristow presents Eileen Wilkie (director) with the keys to Berwickshire Wheels new bus
Major Jonny Bristow presents Eileen Wilkie (director) with the keys to Berwickshire Wheels new bus

A unique fund set up to bring together the civilian and armed forces communities is providing a new minibus for Berwickshire Wheels.

The Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme has given a £30k grant to this local community transport scheme to purchase a new vehicle.

The Peugeot Boxer minibus was formally handed over at Eyemouth Golf Club on Tuesday by Major Jonny Bristow of 52 Lowland, 6th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland. The minibus will help Berwickshire residents who are older and have poor mobility to access health appointments, go shopping and take part in social events.

Eileen Wilkie, board member at Berwickshire Wheels, said: “This new vehicle will make an enormous difference to the people we convey. It will provide safe and reliable transport for them and more up-to-date equipment for our wonderful volunteer drivers.

“We are all extremely grateful to the Community Covenant for the grant that has made the purchase of this vehicle possible.

“The challenge now is to recruit more volunteer drivers to support our work and continue to provide a much-needed service in the Berwickshire area.”

A number of Berwickshire Wheels passengers, including ex-service personnel and their families, attended the handover event.

Major Jonny Bristow said: “We are absolutely delighted that this essential service for the community has been supported and funded by the Community Covenant Grant Scheme. We are well aware of the challenges facing rural community transport links and this vehicle will go some way to providing much-needed support to this superb service provided by Berwickshire Wheels.”

On three days each week, Berwickshire Wheels collects up to nine residents with mobility difficulties from their homes and takes them to centres organised by the Royal Voluntary Service. There they enjoy a healthy lunch and have a chance to meet other people, returning home later in the specially-adapted vehicles driven by volunteer drivers.

Without community transport, these Berwickshire residents would remain isolated in their homes.