A group in Helston that acts as a lifeline to elderly and disabled people across the town has finally been awarded a Blue Badge - after initially being told its disabled access minibus would be denied accessible parking.

Helston Age Concern had not expected a problem when it came to renew the Blue Badge accreditation for its bus, which cost £36,000 and was specially built for the group, fitted with a rear tail lift for easy access along with removable seats for wheelchairs.

However, despite its main purpose being to collect pensioners and disabled residents of Helston from their homes to take them to support clubs and lunches, the group was told that, due a new government ruling introduced in July last year, only minibuses run from care homes could be given Blue Badges for disability parking.

Alternatively, the bus could use a Blue Badge belonging to anyone onboard - but group secretary Mike Smith said that the whole reason most people were on the bus was because they didn't drive, so would not have a badge.

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Mr Smith added: "Without a blue badge we can't park in certain places to get the disabled people in. The reason they're on the bus is many of them are disabled and so don't drive."

The bus is used by a number of groups and organisations in the town, including Helston Age Concern (an independent group with no affiliation to Age UK), Helston Memory Cafe, The Friendly club and some churches.

Sometimes the trips are the only time in the week that those using the bus will leave the house and see people.

However, after contacting their local Cornwall councillor, Mike Thomas, the group has finally been awarded a badge after "three months of hassle."

Mr Smith said: "A big thank you must go to our local town and county councillor Mike Thomas for all his help and support with this matter."

Mr Thomas, councillor for Helston's north division, said: "I was approached in the early summer by Mike Smith and Nick Martin as Cornwall Council were unable to renew the Blue Badge for the Helston Age Concern minibus.

"I was asked if I would request for this decision to be reviewed. I discovered that recent government changes required more information to be given to officers to authorise the issuing of a badge.

"After providing them with the information they needed the officers were able to reissue the Blue Badge and it is now proudly on display on the Helston Age Concern minibus ready to assist our elderly residents when we get back to normal.

"I am very pleased that Cornwall Council has been able to assist in this matter."