From taking children to special schools to grandparents to their health appointments, Glossop Community Transport provides a vital lifeline to the High Peak.
Founded in 1982 with four buses, it was the first service of its kind in Derbyshire.
Now the charity has a fleet of 13 vehicles, including seven 16-seaters, and transported nearly 50,000 people across the borough last year, clocking up more than 162,000 miles.
Based at Mill Street, in Glossop, the service covers more than 200 square miles and provides accessible transport to High Peak residents to as far as Sheffield and Manchester.
Their dial-a-bus service, which operates 22 services on week days across 25 different High Peak villages and towns, offers a pre-bookable door-to-door service for as little as £2 return.
Taking passengers to supermarkets and town centres, community transport provides an opportunity for those people unable to use public transport through mobility difficulties or lack of a service in their area.
“It’s a lifeline to people in rural communities such as Wormhill, Chinley and Edale,” said Paul Smith, project manager. “It’s not just about helping the elderly to the shops, it’s a social thing for them, it gives them the opportunity to get out and about.”
They also operate a more personal active travel service, which provides individuals with a door-to-door service to health and other types of appointments.
Carolyn Bleakley, chief executive, said: “We also take four special needs children to school and transport adults with learning disabilities to day centres. It’s about making them feel comfortable and safe.”
Due to demand from users, Glossop Community Transport now also offer tours and trips to places such as Fairways Garden Centre in Ashbourne, the Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford and Trentham Shopping Village in Stoke.
Carolyn’s 47-strong team, which includes eight volunteers, also provide community group transport for 65 organisations such as church groups, scouts and girl guides, Women’s Institutes, lunch clubs and schools.
“Volunteers play a vital role here, we rely on them on evenings and weekends,” she said. “We’re finding it more and more difficult to find drivers.”
Carolyn explained that in order to drive a minibus, if you passed your driving test after 1997, you have to take another test, which she thinks may be putting prospective volunteers off.
The charity offers three days’ training to volunteer drivers and two days’ training for passenger assistants, who help passengers with special needs.
“It can be very rewarding,” added Paul. “It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. There’s a big need for it. It’s a personal service for people who are isolated.”
If you are interested in volunteering or becoming a trustee for Glossop Community Transport or to make a booking, call 01457 861635.