A whopping £68,000 has been given to Hadlow Parish Council to help fund two new minibuses in the village.
The money has been given by the KCC community transport scheme which funds parishes, charities and community groups to allow them access to a bus or car service if public transport isn’t easily accessible.
It allows people to then set up their own transport scheme to meet the needs of their own communities.
KCC’s Head of Public Transport Phil Lightowler said: “Our community transport scheme is a service provided by the local community in response to specific local transport needs and it’s great that we have been able to give this money to Hadlow Parish Council.
“We did not see any other parish councils apply for this round of funding and most groups that approached us already had services in place. Hadlow wanted to provide their own service linked into the school and I’m delighted that we’ve managed to find the funding for them.
“Community transport run on a not-for-profit basis, or as a social enterprise, often involving volunteers to manage and deliver the service. They are a very effective, flexible, small-scale solution for meeting the mobility needs of specific individuals and local groups.”
The way community transport schemes are set up means they can often be licensed differently and more easily than commercial bus routes.
Hadlow Parish Clerk Melanie Stepkowski said: “We would like to thank KCC for the generous grant towards the purchase of two minibuses for use by the Hadlow and Golden Green community. It is an exciting venture and we can’t wait to get started.”
Hadlow intends to run the buses primarily for school and community use with them due to launch in September.
KCC cabinet member for transport Mike Whiting said: “Community Transport is not a statutory service and we do not receive any extra funding to promote and support these schemes.
“However, we believe community transport can play a valuable role in delivering some of Kent County Council’s strategic outcomes. Community transport schemes can contribute to the quality of life of Kent’s communities by ensuring that rural areas are not left isolated without transport. They also contribute to older and vulnerable people having more choices and being socially included.
“Because of the very clear benefits to Kent’s residents and communities, Kent County Council Public Transport looks to support sustainable and realistic schemes outside of our main community transport scheme, the Kent Karrier, which provides every village in Kent with a bus service at least once a week into a main town.”