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Council partners with First Bus to offer free travel passes for Ukrainian families

Free bus passes are being offered to Ukrainians being hosted by families in Great Yarmouth, thanks to a tie up between the local council and First Bus.

Chris Speed from First Bus and Council leader Carl Smith with a Ukrainian family and their hosts

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader Carl Smith heard first hand from families staying in the town how difficulties with transport was making it difficult for them to settle in and asked First Bus if they could help.

Now thanks to their generosity, Ukrainian guests will now be able to apply for a free one month pass for travel across the borough, and as far out as Norwich or Lowestoft.

Head of operations and engineering Chris Speed has donated an initial 20 passes for the scheme, which is being coordinated by the council.

One of the first families to benefit from the passes will be Mariana Peda and her two children Anastasiia and Vitalii. They are currently staying with hosts Sheila Daniels and Brian Huggins in Bradwell, having arrived from Sokal in west Ukraine around a month ago.

Ms Peda said: "We live with a very nice family who have been so helpful with getting the children ready for school, helping with documents, and getting us around. I'm very grateful for their help, but I do feel uncomfortable sometimes because we take up a lot of their time.

"They have been great in getting Vitalii to football practice and Anastasiia to dance classes at the Hippodrome, but with the bus pass we can be more independent. We can go school, to classes, to work, or to the shops without having to take up their time."

Cllr Smith said: "We want to help people feel welcome in the borough and take part in everything the area has to offer. Particularly when people first arrive, getting around to school, to sort out paperwork, or to get to work is really tricky and this should help with that.

"I'd like to say a big thank you to Chris and First Bus for supporting this initiative, which is incredibly generous of them."

Mr Speed said: "It is important to us to support our local communities and help out where we can. Being able to get around is vital to being independent, and when you're new to somewhere it makes even more of a difference. The situation in Ukraine is terrible, and I'm pleased that we can help make our guests lives a bit better."

To apply for a pass, families living in the Great Yarmouth area should contact the Council's community marshals as part of the Ukraine drop-in support sessions being held at Great Yarmouth Library on Mondays 10am to 12pm and Wednesdays 2pm to 4pm.

Chris Speed from First Bus and Council leader Carl Smith with a Ukrainian family and their hosts

Last modified on 19 July 2023

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