A FANTASTIC Christmas present for people from Crediton and the surrounding area came courtesy of the National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.

Mid Devon Mobility, which comprises Crediton and District Community Transport and Tiverton and District Community Transport, has been granted thousands of pounds to pay for two new easily-accessible minibuses to transport people from the rural areas.

The Mayor of Crediton, Cllr Frank Letch, cut a ribbon to launch the new Crediton minibus at a ceremony held in Crediton’s Town Square.

The minibus is a 15-seater or five-seater plus three wheelchairs.

Faye Ashton, chief executive officer, Mid Devon Mobility, said: “We are thrilled that the National Lottery has funded not one but two minibuses to serve people in the rural communities in addition to all the running costs for the next three years.”

Sarah Holmes, Crediton co-ordinator, said that the Ring and Ride service will be improved with the new vehicle which will cover all the remote areas in the Crediton area as far as Zeal Monachorum, Chawleigh, Chulmleigh, Spreyton, Sandford, Shobrooke and further afield.

She added that it will be used for the transport of school children during the mornings and late afternoons.

Sarah added that the Crediton office has also now moved to new premises at Church View, Union Road, Crediton, but was still on the same telephone number, 01363 773303.

She added that driver, Darren, was thrilled that he now had a new bus to drive.

Mid Devon Mobility, as it is now called, has been providing accessible, affordable transport to help frail, elderly, disabled and rurally isolated people get out and about since 1989.

It aims to provide, promote or co-ordinate suitable transport for individuals, charitable organisations and groups in order to increase independence and mobility, combat isolation and improve access to local services and facilities.

Weekend day trips are also organised and other services offered include shopmobility, wheelchair accessible transport, a voluntary car scheme, community minibus hire, community car hire and much more besides the ring-and-ride scheme.