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Transport charity gears up for expansion with 120k lottery boost

PUBLISHED: 15:37 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 15 March 2019

North Norfolk Community Transport lead driver Vic Evans. who will be taking more passengers on trips out, thanks to a £120,000 Lottery grant.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

North Norfolk Community Transport lead driver Vic Evans. who will be taking more passengers on trips out, thanks to a £120,000 Lottery grant. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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A transport charity offering trips out to needy people is on the road to expansion, after bagging a £120,000 National Lottery grant.

North Norfolk Community Transport (NNCT), which is based at North Walsham, will use the cash to launch a three-year project aimed at increasing the number of excursions it offers to people at risk of isolation or loneliness.

The charity, which last year made around 17,500 single trips, provides a range of services to people who do not have their own transport and struggle to use buses and trains because of ill-health or disability, or who live in rural areas without public transport links.

These include a door-to-door minibus ‘Dial-a-Ride’ scheme, a volunteer car scheme, minibus travel for school and college students, an accessible car scheme and group transport for schools, charities and community groups.

It also runs occasional excursions to Norfolk attractions, with previous destinations ranging from Sandringham Flower Show, to boat trips on the Broads.

NNCT chief executive Claire Abbs said the charity offered a lifeline for people who would otherwise be unable to maintain their independence and access their community.

“We are so pleased to have successfully secured Lottery funding for this project,” she added. “The difference these trips make to people’s lives is incredible and now we can reach so many more people who are at risk of being lonely and isolated across rural North Norfolk.”

The National Lottery Community Fund cash would enable the charity to deliver up to 80 extra trips a year and expand the service - which was previously only run in coastal areas - to the whole of north Norfolk, Ms Abbs added.

“Whilst the trips are about getting out to new destinations, they are also about making new friends and connections and really help people feel less lonely,” she said.

The charity relies heavily on grants and donations to keep its 17 buses on the road and while passengers are charged a fare, this covers just 20pc of running costs.

To find out more about NNCT services, or to sign up as a volunteer car scheme or minibus driver, visit www.nnct.org.uk email: info@nnct.org.uk or phone 01692 500840.

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