The AGM and Presentation of the Midsomer Norton and Radstock Community Service Vehicle Trust, known locally as the community minibus, was held on Tuesday 19th March at Midsomer Norton Methodist Church Hall.

The AGM had been delayed from the Autumn of 2023, the usual time for their AGM, due to the uncertainty about the future of the minibus service. The Chairman of the Management Committee, Melvyn Johnson, said that the Trust, run entirely by volunteers, had been in existence since 1967 but in the early part of 2023 had found it difficult to find new volunteers to replace those that had left following the pandemic.

He went on to say that the Committee thought it may have to suspend services altogether but, following local publicity and letters to many organisations, discussions began taking place with other local charity transport providers, namely Swan Transport, Bath Community Transport and Age UK B&NES. The Management Committee considered all options and finally decided to try to work with AgeUK B&NES and so in November 2023 a grant agreement was drawn up and signed by Melvyn Johnson for the Trust and Simon Allen CEO of AgeUK B&NES. 

The grant gave the present minibus and £8,000 to AgeUK B&NES with the proviso that they would continue to serve the present users and any new users. The booking system would stay the same with Dianne Carter, Co-ordinator and all drivers becoming volunteers for AgeUK B&NES therefore there being no noticeable change for the users.

On the 12th Jan 2024 the running of the community minibus transferred from the Trust to AgeUK B&NES.

At the meeting, Melvyn went on to explain how the Trust would be finally wound up. The Committee, in line with advice from the Charity Commission and in line with the Trust Deed, set up in 1967, stated quite clearly that any monies should be passed to local charities and so it was that the three Trustees - Nick Rogers, Derek Livsey and Melvyn Johnson - presented cheques for £8,000 to MSN and Radstock Dial-a-Ride, with the same amount being presented to both Swan Transport and SWALLOW. The remaining monies are being held until the end of this financial year for any outstanding expenditure and to put in place a ‘run-off’ Trustees’ insurance. Melvyn wound the meeting up by proposing that the three Trustees, along with Natalie Freeth, Secretary/Treasurer, be entrusted with the final days of the Trust and ensuring it was closed per Charity Commission rules.  With no objections, it was carried unanimously.

The Trust aimed to support the most vulnerable in local society. In a letter to The Journal earlier this year, Chairman Melvyn Johnson said: “For many, the minibus is their only means of being mobile to attend their social events”. Melvyn thanked all volunteers past and present who had made the community minibus part of their daily lives but hoped that under the new management, it would continue almost seamlessly. The meeting was concluded with an excellent buffet provided by SWALLOW Charity.