Community bus services needs your votes to win major Freemason funds

Member of Centre 81 appeal for readers's votes.Picture:TMS Media

Member of Centre 81 appeal for readers's votes.Picture:TMS Media - Credit: Archant

A lifeline community bus service is seeking public votes to put it on the road to a big charity windfall.

Centre 81 at Great Yarmouth is one of six Norfolk finalists in contention for a share of a national £3m pot marking the 300th anniversary of the Freemasons.

All the nominees get a grant ranging from £4,000 to £25,000 – but the size of it will be determined by the amount of public support each gets through on-line voting, which opens next week.

Centre 81 runs a community bus service used by 500 regular passengers, as well as a skills and activities centre for adults with a range of disabilities.

Its grant will help with core costs or towards a replacement bus for the vital service, which has a 10-strong fleet picking up people across the borough.

The buses, with affordable fares, help with a range of door-to-door transport trips including journeys for everyday shopping, medical appointments, or club meetings and dining club visits to a range of Broads eateries.

It also provides day trips to museums, gardens, tea rooms and local attractions

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Chief executive officer Diana Staines said: “Our clients say our bus service is their ‘social club on wheels,’ enabling them to get out and meet friends.

“The drivers see passengers home, carry their shopping in and make sure they are all right.

“Community bus services are not just for the elderly and infirm.

“We help a whole range of people with transport needs.

“We need local people to know we are here and able to support them.”

Centre 81 says passengers say that without the centre’s buses they would feel isolated, lonely and unable to see friends, family or to carry out volunteering work.

The Freemasons Community Awards Tercentenary Fund is a one-off scheme marking the formation of the movement’s first Grand Lodge in 1717 and will see grants made to 300 charities across the country.

Norfolk Freemasons whittled more than 30 nominations from the county’s 75 lodges down to six for the final round.

Voting runs from June 12 until the end of July.

To vote for Centre 81 visit