ADDITIONAL funding is being given to community transport providers to help limit the damage done by cuts to commercial bus services across Tenbury and the Teme Valley.

Malvern Hills District Council has announced plans to invest an extra £15,000 a year in volunteer run services to help people continue to make essential journeys for health, leisure or other reasons.

It will take the council’s total investment in community transport to £50,000.

The council currently provides funding to several organisations operating community transport across the district, which includes anything from community buses and minibus hire to a community car scheme.

Councillors decided to act after First Bus withdrew services or reduced timetables on 17 routes across the district in September, leaving some residents with difficulties getting to work or hospital appointments and others fearing they would be left isolated by the changes.

At the time councillors from all political parties on the council met with Nigel Eggleton, Managing Director of First Midlands, to request changes were delayed allowing more time for alternative options to be explored, which was declined.

More than 5,400 households in the district do not have access to a vehicle and more than 1,300 of them are households where residents are in work.

“I’m delighted we’re able to put forward this additional funding which will go some way to addressing the problems caused by the recent cuts to services by First Bus,” said David Chambers, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council.

“Our community transport providers do a fantastic job.”