A LIFELINE bus service which is helping to tackle rural isolation has been shortlisted for a national award.

The charity Dorset Community Transport (DCT) is a finalist at this year’s Community Transport Awards in the Serving Rural Communities category.

DCT’s submission highlighted its work in keeping bus services 97 and 88 – primarily used by elderly people who have no other means of getting into town – up and running following council funding cuts.

The example of 73-year-old passenger Mary Head, who is reliant on the 'little green bus' is used.

She said: “For someone living alone, who is perhaps not able to walk very well and has not got family around, you need to be able to get out and have something to look forward to.”

DCT's help for those with mobility difficulties in getting them to health appointments, and also transporting rural school pupils on trips is also highlighted. Pupils at Cerne Abbas First School can now attend swimming lessons, choir practices, science activities and more thanks to the bus.

Tim Christian, general manager at DCT, said: “Many Dorset villages are not served by any buses whatsoever, and often residents have no access to basic amenities.

“At DCT, we have been working hard since 2011 to offer people – particularly those who are vulnerable or socially isolated – a means of getting out and staying connected to their community. I’m very proud that our work has been recognised in the shortlist for a national award, and particularly in the ‘Serving Rural Communities’ category, because that is exactly what we do.”

The winner will be announced on November 12 at a Community Transport Awards dinner.