Lottery cash boost for rural Cumbria bus service

Volunteers who run a cash-strapped rural minibus service in Cumbria have been given a £90,000 lifeline.

The Big Lottery Fund is giving the money to the Fellrunner Village Bus project to sustain transport links between 42 villages, including the market towns of Penrith and Carlisle.

The service is free for the disabled, and runs services to hospitals, health centres, shops and sports centres.

The project said the money would "secure" the service's future.

Its aim is to ensure disadvantaged and disabled people do not become isolated.

Jill Hay, chairwoman of the bus project, said: "The Fellrunner is much more than just a bus service, it is a social event and a lifeline for many of those who use it.

"The grant could not have come at a better time as our traditional sources of funding are all under threat in the current difficult financial times."

She added that the money meant there would be a freeze on passenger fare hikes for the next five years.

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