Forfarian under threat

Urgent appeal for volunteers from Forfar Community Bus Trust
Urgent appeal for volunteers from Forfar Community Bus Trust

An urgent appeal has gone out for committee members for the Forfar Community Bus Trust to ensure the Forfarian mini-bus has a future.

Since 1981 the bus has served Forfar and the surrounding district, providing transport for the elderly, disabled and other groups.

It is now under threat of running off the road if committee members cannot be found.

In a typical year the Forfarian, which can carry 16 passengers or 13 passengers and two wheelchairs, notches up over 80 extended day trips for more than 20 individual Forfar-based organisations.

The 10 volunteer drivers also undertake almost 170 local journeys to convey members of the nine regular weekly user groups to their meetings.

For many of the elderly, infirm, wheelchair users, the blind and visually impaired, this is often their only means of attending these social occasions and events. Without the Forfarian this would not be possible.

The service is run by the bus co-ordinator who, along with four others, make up the small voluntary committee - the Forfar Community Bus Trust, a registered Scottish charity.

The co-ordinator, chairperson and treasurer wish to retire in late September after serving more than 45 years between them.

Mrs Kate McFarlane, Trust chairperson, said: “Earlier this year the committee wrote to all organisations and groups that use the bus with a request for new members to come forward. There was an expectation that this could result in some volunteers but, unfortunately, the request was not successful.

“The committee is looking for community-minded people to replace the chairperson, co-ordinator and treasurer to continue to provide this vital service for the people of Forfar and district. Should no volunteers join the committee it seems inevitable that the Forfarian service will have to cease, something that will impact on the wellbeing of its direct users and, in turn, will surely adversely affect the wider local community.”

Anyone interested in the continuation of this valuable community service, and who thinks they may be able to help, is asked to contact the co-ordinator, Mr J. Myles, telephone 01307 467428 and 07548 151284, to discuss the practicalities of what is involved.