A COMMUNITY bus service supporters say has become "absolutely crucial" in the face of public transport cuts has celebrated a successful first year.
The Douglas Woolcock Vehicle Project (DWVP) was started to help isolated and vulnerable residents of west Penwith get around more easily.
On Friday night many of those involved gathered at the Commercial Hotel in St Just to celebrate their success in maintaining the service over its vital first 12 months.
Retired GP Bill Jago – one of the project trustees, along with the Reverend Stephen Leach, Shirley Woolcock and Elisabeth Thomas – said the vehicle project was "absolutely crucial" for the area.
"It's been so important for the community here," he said.
"We're coming out of a recession, there are clearly major cuts in public expenditure and an area that seems to have been hit hard is transport.
"People have to be aware that they need to look after themselves. We've done that."
Dr Jago, who lives in St Buryan, said the bus covered St Just and surrounding villages, allowing those who needed help getting around to attend medical appointments as far afield as Helston and Hayle.
The ten or so volunteer drivers also took people to social events, on shopping trips – or even just for a cup of tea. Many in west Penwith were at risk of loneliness and being cut off, he said, and St Just's Age Concern branch played an important role.
Residents who needed the bus contacted the branch, which passed on their details to the organisers.
Cornwall Council also provided support in getting the service off the ground, and former council member Chris Goninan said the DWVP's impact had been tremendous and it was now recognised as a vital amenity.
"It's been a fantastic addition for St Just and district," he said.
"I thank the trustees for having the foresight to deliver it. I know of so many people who have benefited through this.
"It has improved the quality of life here."