Village groups go up a gear in community minibus fundraising drive

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Milford minibus
Milford Primary School is one of the community groups getting behind the idea

PLANS for a Milford community minibus look set to move a step closer after the team behind the initiative announced plans for a fundraising night at the South Lawns Hotel.

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The Milford Charitable Trust has already secured more than £4,000 worth of funding toward the vehicle purchase, and it is hoped a further £2,500 can be raised during the special evening of live music, food and entertainment on 16th November.

Minibus project co-ordinator Ivan Chandler said: “The minibus will cost around £10,000 for a second-hand vehicle, and we have already raised a substantial amount towards that target.

“Passengers will be asked to pay a small donation for the use of the minibus to cover the ongoing costs.”

When the project was officially launched in July, more than 40 people attended a meeting to voice their support for the launch of a low-cost community vehicle which will be available for people and organisations in Milford, Everton, Keyhaven, Lymore and Downton.

Once purchased, the minibus will be available for anyone in the community to use, and so far Milford Primary School, Milford Conservation Volunteers, the WI, the U3A, Dementia Action Group and the bridge club have all expressed an interest.

Other uses could include transport to and from events or activities in the village, such as the community centre, the library and lunch clubs.

Ivan said “At our initial meeting there was a consensus that a small minibus, which could take up to eight passengers, was the best option to begin with. It will help to make Milford “greener” by encouraging residents to use their cars less. In time the project would like to look for grants to provide an electric vehicle”.

With support from the Milford Charitable Trust, Ivan has already formed a team of enthusiastic volunteers who are set to take on a range of roles from driving the vehicle to taking bookings and promoting the service.

Ivan said: “More help is needed. If you have a little time to spare, the project team would love to hear from you.”

South Lawns Hotel is supporting the initiative by hosting a minibus fun-and-fundraising evening on Saturday 16th November at 7.30pm which will feature live music, comedy, belly dancing and a pie-and-mash meal.

Ivan said: “The South Lawns have been incredible. They are providing use of the room and a meal for all the guests at no cost to the charity. All the performers are also giving their time and talents to support us at no cost.”

Tickets are on sale now for £20 each, with only 100 available. For more information on supporting the minibus project or purchasing tickets to the fundraising evening contact Ivan by emailing ivan@ivanchandler.com or calling 07915 662030.

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