Sunday, 26 September 2021

Charity bus service ‘more crucial than ever’, says chairman

THE new chairman of the Fish volunteer centre says the service is now more crucial than

THE new chairman of the Fish volunteer centre says the service is now more crucial than ever after cuts to bus services.

Clive Mills, of Shiplake Bottom, Peppard, took over the post in June from Fred Nickson, of Stoke Row Road, Peppard, who stood down after three years.

He has served as vice-chairman at the charity, which operates in Peppard, Sonning Common and Kidmore End, for the last two years.

Mr Mills, 72, said: “I can see the need for Fish becoming even greater. Communities are getting older and they need the kind of services that Fish provide. With the tragic loss of the bus service we are going to become very much busier in the coming months.”

Earlier this month the Henley Standard reported about Heather Ogilvie-White, of Church Lane, who said she felt stranded by the cancellation of the M1 bus, which was run by Oxfordshire County Council.

The service, which went between Watlington and Reading, was stopped on July 20 as the authority scrapped its bus route subsidies in order to save £3.7million.

Mrs Ogilvie-White, who has lived in Peppard for 40 years, now relies on her daughter Serane Davies to get around.

Mr Mills says he could envisage the need for two buses run by the charity, which is based off Kennylands Road in Sonning Common, in the future.

“We are currently in continued discussions with Kidmore End Parish Council about the possibility of being able to help residents out there with shopping trips but we don’t have a final decision on that,” he said.

“We know that in Peppard we are going to have more of the same situation. People will be needing some form of transport and they will be relying on Fish to replace the bus service. We are not in the position to take over any of the bus services but we can support people and help them if they wish.”

He added: “We are going to have a lot of elderly people who are going to find it quite hard and they need to know we are there to support those people. That is exactly what we should be doing.”

The charity is in need of more volunteers to work in the office, drive the mini-bus or be a car driver.

If you are interested, email or call 0118 9723986.

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