St Philip's Community Minibus is for voluntary groups or charities that are unable to have access to other minibuses.
We have a Minibus Administrator Suzanne Stammers who is responsible for running the minibus project. She can be contacted in the Church Office at St. Philip and St. James' Church, Odd Down or here.
St Philip & St James Community Minibus project was started in October 1992 when it was given a Ford Transit minibus from The Children's Society. We are now on our fifth minibus - a Peugeot Boxer purchased in 2017 which has 16 passenger seats and a disabled access lift at the rear.
The minibus is used by a wide range of groups both from the church and the community. Most of the uses are for people who don't have access to their own transport (30% youth, 35% older people), whilst the rest is for charitable purposes.
How it operates
Those wishing to use the minibus simply have to phone and book with the church office which is open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. They collect the keys from the office before use and return the keys back there afterwards. The bus is overseen by a Minibus Administrator who makes sure it is all run smoothly and is responsible for registering new groups and drivers. The bus is also checked regularly to rectify any faults and arrange for it to be fixed at an established garage. Donations towards the bus are kept in a separate fund which is used to pay for insurance, road tax and repairs.
Who Can Use it
Groups that use the bus must fit one of the following three criteria
* a group which is part of St Philip's church
* member of St Philip's church driving for a group of friends and acquaintances
* a community group or church - which must be from the BANES area, voluntary aided, charitable or benevolent, and non-political.
Groups that do not fit the above criteria but may want to use the bus have to seek approval from the PCC of St Philip's church, stating the aims and objectives of their group
Funding the minibus
It costs about £5,000 a year to insure, tax, MOT and repair the minibus and cover depreciation. If we had to charge we would need £20 per usage plus 40p a mile, but instead we rely on fundraising and donations. It now costs between £150 and £300 a day to hire a commercial 15 seater minibus and then only if you can match their tight restrictions. Groups use the minibus irrespective of the amount they donate but it would be helpful to raise or donate as much as they can to support this community resource. Any surplus in the minibus fund will be put aside to cover depreciation and build up a fund to buy the next one.