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FAREHAM Community Action and Gosport Voluntary Aid were both handed the keys to new minibuses to be used by members of their local communities by the Fareham MP Suella Fernandes and Councillor Chris Matthews.

It happened at a ceremony held at Vector Aerospace, Gosport.

Fareham Community Action and Gosport Voluntary Aid both put in a bid for funds to purchase new minibuses to the government – and they were successful.

Each was awarded £55,000 and the new minibuses were bought.

The new, as well as the old, minibuses will be kept on site in a 24-hour CCTV, security-patrolled car park at the premises of Vector Aerospace, Gosport. This will save the organisations £8,000 a year in parking charges.

Fareham Community Action has 29 voluntary drivers and Gosport has 89 voluntary drivers.

This also includes car schemes, Dial-A-Ride, and the minibus service.

The volunteer drivers and the various mobility schemes have a big impact on people’s lives, and enable them to be more mobile within the local community.

More than 800 members in Fareham are registered to use the mobility schemes and in 2015 more than 13,000 trips were made in the minibuses.

And 11,500 Dial-A-Ride trips were made.

Both schemes enable people who live on their own, have disability problems or no access to transport, a chance to engage with the outside world instead of looking at the four walls of their own house all the time.

They can go out to socialise or go shopping. It helps people feel less lonely and isolated.

Both Fareham Community Action and Gosport Voluntary Aid rely on volunteers as drivers.

The community minibuses and Dial-A-Ride could not operate without the time and dedication that the volunteer drivers give each week.

The volunteer drivers offer a lifeline to those in the community who do not have it.

Paul O’Beirne, the chief executive of Fareham Community Action said a big ‘thank you’ to Vector Aerospace for the parking facility on site.

He said they now had more space to do routine checks and the money saved on parking could be used elsewhere.

For details of Fareham Community minibus or Dial-A-Ride contact 01329 231899 or e-mail inquiries@farehamaction.org.uk. In Gosport call (023) 9258 3836 go to gosport-voluntary-action.org.uk.