Charity thanks community for minibus support
Beverley Community Lift (BCL) is celebrating the start of the transport charity’s golden jubilee year by taking delivery of its latest minibus.
It has taken BCL three years to raise the funds needed to buy the vehicle, which maintains the charity’s fleet at five. The 16-seater, named Clover, is already in use for shopping trips and outings.
The new arrival is a welcome birthday present for BCL, which began life in early 1970 as the Beverley Community Care Service, with a group of volunteers providing a neighbourhood street contact service across the town. It started operating a minibus when one was donated by the Beverley Round Table in 1974. The charity caters for people who struggle to use public transport by providing minibus trips for shopping and outings. It also operates a car service to help take people to medical appointments and social engagements.
The service operates through the goodwill of volunteer drivers based in and around the Beverley, Market Weighton and Pocklington areas. In 2018-19, some 4,724 passengers used the charity’s services. BCL operates 14 door-to-door shopping trips in Beverley and the Wolds area and is keen to run more.
Manager Fiona Wales says: “It’s a terrific milestone to have achieved, given how the charity started, and the minibus is a very welcome birthday gift. There is growing demand for what we offer and I pay tribute to the volunteers who have given their time so willingly over the last five decades. It must have felt like a brave move to set up the service in 1970 and funding was equally difficult then as now.
“We need volunteer help more than ever, particularly passenger assistants to help our minibus operations in the Beverley area. If you have some spare time to help, please contact us to talk it through.”
The charity is planning special events during the year to celebrate its golden anniversary. A promotion day on Wednesday 19th February in the car park at Tesco Beverley raised almost £70 for the new minibus appeal. Other events include a coffee morning at St John’s Methodist Church, Market Weighton, on Saturday 14th March from 10-12, a celebratory get-together with volunteers and passengers in mid-April, and a Spring Fayre at Toll Gavel Church, Beverley, on Saturday 25th April.
Fundraising for the new vehicle has been supported by the Hull and East Riding Trust, Tesco Bags for Help, Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust, Clothworkers’ Foundation, Leconfield Community Choir, the Masons, Persimmon, Rank Foundation and Walkington Quilters.
Potential volunteers can call 01482 868082 on weekday mornings, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message via Facebook @BeverleyCommunityLift.
Picture caption: L-R - Fiona Wales (Manager), Iain Campbell (Chairman), Nick Wright (Transport Manager) and John Turner (volunteer and co-founder).