Who are Wheelers?
“Wheelers” is a Community Transport organisation operating under not-for-profit Section 19/22 Permits (Transport Act, 1985). The primary aim of the volunteer management team is to offer affordable and inclusive transport to residents of North Shropshire not otherwise catered for by public/private services.
The formal name of the organisation is North Salop Wheelers Community Bus (NS Wheelers CB).
With volunteer drivers, Wheelers aims particularly to provide services to those people unable to access public or private transport by reason of age, incapacity, isolation or economic hardship. We assist with individual and group journeys but mainly run regular bus services connecting rural villages to local market towns on Wednesdays (Market Drayton); Thursdays (Wem) and Fridays (Whitchurch) picking up passengers at their doors as far as possible.
Whilst the first call for additional individual transport might be to Shropshire’s Community Car Service, Wheelers helps out where it can to meet welfare and social needs, transporting passengers, for example, to doctors, opticians and hospitals.
A brief history of NS Wheelers
Initiated by John Harrison assisted by Phoebe Ashton, Wheelers has almost two decades’ experience as a community organisation. In 2004, Whixall Parish Council achieved a grant from Shropshire Council to purchase a minibus. From these modest beginnings, Wheelers gradually built up a small fleet of vehicles, raising funds to do so. It has received financial support from many local Rural/Town and Parish Councils as well as establishing grant-funding from Shropshire Council. It has also benefited from the support of a number of bodies such as the Morgan and Grocott Foundations. The growth in membership has thus been matched by an extension of the range of provision above, in buses of different sizes to meet various needs, including those of wheelchair users. John, with the support of his wife Jackie, and Phoebe Ashton have done a great job serving the people of North Shropshire.
But circumstances have led both John and Phoebe to retire and pass the baton on to others.
From Autumn 2021, Wheelers has been run by a Committee, elected at the extraordinary Annual General Meeting of September, 2021 and subsequently with the addition of a Management Team of volunteers (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Administrator) elected at the regular AGM of March, 2022. It currently runs a fleet of five vehicles located in Wem, with an office, c/o the Town Council, at Edinburgh House, Wem. The team continues to raise funding with the aim of sustaining – and modestly growing – all the services above. In particular, the officers are in the process of upgrading some of the vehicles to meet future needs.