bourne bus Thorney Island

How the bus started

This project came about through a meeting Tracie and Andrew had in 2019 at Thorney Island Baker Barracks. We learnt about the issue of isolation, a very real and impactful element of day to day military and family life, which got even tougher when COVID hit in April 2020.

As a member of the Civilian Military Partnership Tracie wrote a detailed report on the feelings of loneliness experienced by many on the island. The bus project has now come to fruition, in response to the key issue of a lack of local transport, not just on Thorney Island but in local Parishes too. In 2020 we created the idea of a free minibus service, with full disabled access, covering Thorney and with all the other local Parishes on board too from Southbourne, Chidham & Hambrook, Westbourne and Emsworth.

We’re at the positive point of launch in the bus project and it’s a great example of military and local partnership

Andrew Kerry-Bedell WSCC Councillor for Bourne

All the local villages provided a good number of volunteer drivers and have also committed £20,000 to help run the bus service. Over at Thorney, Major Davies has been instrumental in working out the routes the soldiers and their families will likely want to use with the bus, and Parish representatives reviewed popular bus stop locations.

Just some of our MIDAS trained volunteer Bourne Bus bus driver team

SAAFA has provided all the funds to cover volunteer driver MIDAS minibus training, we’ve built a mobile friendly website, got all the main stops and routes planned, Community Transport Sussex has provided invaluable help in sourcing the two minibuses. We’re nearly there!