FUNDING has been assured to allow Malpas Community Minibus to continue to help elderly residents in the area receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.

Serving people in and around Malpas for more than three years, the Malpas Community Minibus Service (affectionately known as Rosie’s bus) helps charities and community organisations who have no access to transport or need specialist help to get around the village and further afield.

With the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations, the community minibus has received a new calling, helping transport elderly patients of Laurel Bank Surgery to the vaccination centre at Cheshire View in Waverton.

The minibus is entirely community funded and at Malpas Parish Council's January meeting, held virtually on Monday, January 11, organiser John Webb appealed for funding to continue the service.

He said in the last week the bus had travelled more than 100 miles between Malpas and Waverton and appealed for funding for fuel and disinfectant.

"The mini bus is now providing transport to those that really have no alternative to get their Covid jab," said John.

"Last week we did 144 miles, I have no idea for how long this is going to continue.

"Last week we waived our standard charge, there is no income guaranteed. The same request is going to No Man's Heath and Tilston to let us have some money to cover the fuel costs.

"In addition we have got the use of the Young Person Centre's fogger – it would be helpful if the parish council could purchase some of the spray that the drivers need.

"We’re covering anywhere the surgery covers. It is as long as a piece of string this.

"I’ve had calls, not huge numbers but these are very vulnerable numbers. The alternative is a taxi.

"It’s not reasonable to get a taxi to Cheshire View even if you could get one.

"A few hundred pounds would be [enough]. I don’t think we’re going to get lots of people but we did 144 miles last week – I’m happy if you agree something.

"With the AstraZenica jab it may transfer to local centres but [Cheshire View] is where you go at the moment."

Following Mr Webb's appeal, councillors agreed to provide £500 in funding to purchase fuel and disinfectant for the minibus.