Voluntary car service comes to end of road

Kim Snape with community car volunteer Clare Gillard

Kim Snape with community car volunteer Clare Gillard

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Elderly and disabled folk in rural Chorley face losing a vital lifeline.

A much-needed voluntary vehicle service has stopped – leading to fears people will be stranded at home or forced to pay expensive taxi fees or struggle to manage on public transport.

The voluntary-based Community Car service used to operate through, Wheelton, Withnell and Brinscall, often taking the elderly and disabled to places such as the shops or for medical

appointments.

But due to sickness, retirements and lack of volunteers, the service has folded.

Eccleston still has a Community Car service – but the village was dealt a blow with two out of the three volunteers recently retiring.

A plea has been issued by service user Betty Emmott, of Withnell, for volunteers to come forward to save it.

She said: “Where I live there isn’t a bus service and it’s really hard to get to one.

“At the moment with no service me and other people are struggling to get about and it’s costing me £25 to get to Chorley and back.

“I simply can’t keep paying that, especially being on a pension.

“The service is a necessity and it needs to continue.”

Users gave 24 hours’ notice to the volunteer drivers and paid 40 pence per mile for their journeys.

A 20-mile radius is set and the service can be used for shopping, visiting friends and other daily activities.

Mrs Emmott added: “The service was great – people would always be on time and they would charge hardly

anything.”

Chorley county councillor Kim Snape is backing the plea for the rural areas to be supported and hopes the service can continue.

“The service is massively important to the areas and we need a real big push to get it out there,” she said.

“People are limited to the bus services they are provided and something needs to be done. Residents need to be going out, not being stuck inside which is what will happen if no volunteers can come

forward.”

Contact Julie on 01772 516208 to volunteer.