New ‘lifeline’ community bus service piloted in Northamptonshire to ‘reconnect’ villages

The service offers trips to shopping destinations such as Weston Favell and Rushden Lakes

A new “lifeline” community bus service is being piloted in Northamptonshire to help “reconnect” villages.

Liberal Democrat councillor for the Brixworth Ward, Jonathan Harris, has spent five months working with CommMiniBus to explore ways of reconnecting villages with some form of public transport.

Cllr Harris worked to find a solution to the lack of any public transport in the village of Scaldwell, and through CommMiniBus, the village now has an ‘on demand’ Friday service between Kettering and Weston Favell.

Cllr Jonathan Harris with the new Shopper Hopper bus.

The conversations broadened and now there is a fortnightly shopping service - the ‘Shopper Hopper’ - that picks up in Cottesbrooke, Haselbech and Cold Ashby.

Cllr Harris said: “We took the opportunity to include other villages, such as Naseby, Thornby, Creaton and Brixworth as it made sense to do so. Spratton is also now included as people there had heard about the service and asked if we could include them.

“This is very much a joint effort and our ambition is to keep this service working all year round if we can, and eventually look to see if we can widen it within the ward.”

Every other Tuesday during May and June the minibus service picked up passengers and heads to supermarkets, such as the new Aldi at Overstone Leys or Weston Favell, and drops back into Brixworth for a stop to enable access to various shops as well as the library. This service will continue during July and August.

There will also be shopping trips to Rushden Lakes - a destination requested by the users themselves.

Anna Hughes a regular user and one of the co-ordinators from Creaton said: “We really want this to feel like a community so we get passengers involved and try and shape trips as best as we can to fit in with CommMiniBus’s overall schedule.

People have told us that it is more than a bus service, it’s a lifeline to the outside world and are very excited that so much effort and energy has been put into re-establishing this connection for them and supporting their independence.”

If anyone wants to use the service, they are asked to contact the team on Facebook. Search ‘Brixworth Liberal Democrat Focus Team’.