A LIFELINE bus service which is run by volunteers and driven by a town council chairman has been given a funding boost by Dorset Council.

The CB3, run by volunteers and supported by Beaminster Town Council, links rural villages to towns in west Dorset each Saturday.

The bus, so far, is a real success story for the community, having launched in 2018 in response to the-then county council's decision to deregister a host of services. 

It works thanks to the generosity of volunteers, who donate their time to run it, and the town council's own chairman, Craig Monks, assumes the role of bus driver to help out. 

A grant funding worth £16,000 from Dorset Council has been given to support the core revenue costs of the CB3 bus service.

The funding was secured by Mr Monks and will ensure the future financial viability of the bus service.

The funding will also be used to incorporate the nearby village of South Perrott to the CB3’s route.

Starting this summer, South Perrott will become part of the CB3 route, linking the village with Crewkerne, Beaminster, Bridport and the wider west Dorset community.

Mr Monks said: “I am delighted that Dorset Council has agreed to invest in our CB3 service so we can continue in our work in running the CB3 but can expand our rural bus to South Perrott.

"Residents recently contacted me regarding the possibility of a service so I am delighted to announce that we have been able to deliver this rural service to them.”

Sue Coutanche, South Perrott's footpaths officer, said: "I am delighted that the CB3 community bus will soon be providing a service to South Perrott.

"There are a number of residents who are looking forward to using it, especially those who for various reasons are unable to drive or do not have access to private transport."

West Dorset’s MP Chris Loder has also welcomed grant funding.

Mr Loder said: “This funding is brilliant news for the viability of the CB3, which offers an excellent bus service to those in Bridport, Melplash, Beaminster – and now South Perrott.

"I’m especially pleased that Beaminster Town Council have been able to extend this route into the village, and I encourage everyone along the CB3’s route to take advantage of this rural bus service.”

However, the CB3 still needs support in the form of volunteers. Without the support of volunteers, the bus may be at risk.

Cllr Monks added: "We rely on the kindness of volunteers to drive and 'clippy' [clip tickets] the bus.

"It's extremely rewarding and not much commitment in typically one five hour shift per month.

"All you need is a clean licence with the D1 category. If you are 70 or over we will refund the costs to complete your medical so you can retain your qualification and join the team."