Suffolk scheme joins the big league

A FELIXSTOWE dial-a-ride scheme for the housebound and elderly is celebrating a special milestone – after signing up its 1,000th member.The volunteer-run FACTS – Felixstowe Area Community Transport Scheme – bus is a familiar sight around resort, taking those suffering disabilities from door to door in comfort.

A FELIXSTOWE dial-a-ride scheme for the housebound and elderly is celebrating a special milestone – after signing up its 1,000th member.

The volunteer-run FACTS – Felixstowe Area Community Transport Scheme – bus is a familiar sight around resort, taking those suffering disabilities from door to door in comfort.

It was started just over a decade ago, and now not only runs the dial-a-ride bus, but also a community car service. It also wants to expand again and run a new service to cover a wider area on the peninsula.

Mayor Doreen Savage presented the service's 1,000th member, Kathleen Freemantle, accompanied by her husband Edward, with flowers at their home at Margery Girling House, Gosford Way, Old Felixstowe, to mark the milestone.

FACTS chairman Gordon Stirrat said everyone involved was thrilled to reach the landmark, which showed how well used the service was and how many people are benefiting in the area.

"It has become a lifeline for people who without it would be virtually housebound," said Mr Stirrat.

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"The FACTS bus enables them to get to the supermarket or the surgery, to club meetings and day centres, and to visit friends and relations."

The service's main vehicle is wheelchair accessible and will pick up people from all over Felixstowe and the Trimleys, and also Kirton and Falkenham. Members pay an annual fee plus a fare for each journey.

The community car scheme is operated by volunteer drivers using their own cars, taking people to wherever they want to go anywhere – though very long journeys may not be subsidised. Wheelchair-bound people can also use this service via another specially-adapted vehicle.

Around 40 people work as volunteer drivers, escorts and officer workers for the service, which is partly funded by the county council, town and parish councils, but also from fundraising.

WEBLINK: www.facts.ik.com

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