A brand new minibus service has been launched in Rolvenden. The 16-seater vehicle is the first in a pilot wellbeing initiative created by Ashford Borough Council named ‘Community Connect’.
The scheme was created because of the need to increase transport options in rural areas, reduce social isolation and improve our air quality. Many community groups own and run minibuses or other vehicles. These vehicles may have a limited use, can contribute to high emissions and can be expensive to run. The not for profit Community Connect scheme allows community groups to access a vehicle as they require it.
The parish of Rolvenden was chosen to pilot the scheme. Rolvenden had no type of transport provision and the parish councillors were very keen to be involved. They worked extremely hard, in partnership with Ashford Borough Council, to ensure that the Rolvenden Rocket could come to fruition.
Cllr Bradford, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing at Ashford Borough Council, said: “This is a simple idea that will deliver wellbeing to our communities, particularly those at risk of social isolation. Many people take the ability to travel around for granted but we must not forget that people in rural communities don’t have access to transport in the way that town dwellers do. I look forward to seeing this scheme rolled out across many of our rural areas.”
Duncan Murray, Chairman of Rolvenden Parish Council said “We are thrilled to get this opportunity and grateful to Ashford Borough Council for choosing us for this ambitious scheme. The Rolvenden Rocket will connect communities and individuals - whether for trips to the seaside, to attend club league meetings or to do their food shopping.”
The launch was attended by the Rt Hon Damian Green (MP for Ashford), Cllrs Bradford and Bennett (Ashford Borough Council and Cllrs Curtain (Mrs) and Tiltman (Rolvenden Parish Council).
The Community Connect scheme is open to community, voluntary, charitable or non-profit making organisations within the Ashford borough. If you know of any who might be interested, please contact the Community Safety and Wellbeing team at Ashford Borough Council on 01233 331111 or email@example.com for further information.