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Community mini bus brings people together thanks to National Lottery

December 7, 2018

This week in the run up to Christmas we’re celebrating some of the amazing projects that we’ve funded recently, making an amazing difference to their communities.

Earlier this year we awarded Llandysul a Phont-Tyweli Ymlaen Cyf a National Lottery grant of £98,300 to run a community transport scheme in Carmarthenshire. They are one of 29 projects that received £2.77 million for community facilities in 2018.

We went to visit the project for the day to see the bus in action helping local groups.  We joined the bus carrying people with Alzheimer’s and their carers to a local dementia group. Madelaine Richards, one of the carers told us how much she valued being able to get out of the house, joking “I can’t leave my husband alone, if I was in prison it wouldn’t be much different and at least I’d get my meals.”

Tom Chowder is Chair of Llandysul a Phont-Tyweli Ymlaen Cyf and is proud of how the buses the Big Lottery Fund have provided are being used: “This afternoon’s dementia group is a typical example of the sort of group that we’re helping. It’s bringing people from rural areas together, stopping them being stuck, alone in their homes. It’s an opportunity for the carers to get out together with the person they are looking after. Everyone enjoys the company and it clearly stimulates discussion and memories. Our first bus was so well used we have successfully applied for a second one, the demand is huge. Our pricing structure is reasonable which means small groups can afford it.”

We also met Rod Bowen, the coordinator for the project, he told us: “The bus is so busy – today it’s out three times, it has been in Llanelli this morning taking people to a mental health group, this afternoon it’s going to be used by the local dementia group, and tonight it’s being used by a volunteer group in Carmarthen. It varies but what we want to do is keep it on the road as much as possible which will make it sustainable in the longer term.”

Llandysul a Phont-Tyweli Ymlaen Cyf are using the National Lottery grant to expand their Transport for All project by purchasing another adapted 16-seat minibus for communities in Carmarthenshire and to recruit and train volunteer drivers and co-ordinate the use of the minibus with groups and sheltered accommodation venues in the area.

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