Age Concern Deepings has taken delivery of a new minibus after raising the £25,000 needed to buy it 10 months ahead of schedule.
The group began an appeal last year to gather funds to replace one of their two ageing minibuses, which provide vital volunteer-run transport services to older people in the Deepings and surrounding villages.
The aim was to raise £25,000 by the end of 2018 but thanks to a huge response from local residents, groups and businesses, the £25,000 needed to complete the purchase was raised 10 months ahead of time, enabling the charity to go ahead with the purchase much sooner than expected. Tesco in the Deepings in particular was a big help, raising £4,000 through its Bags of Help scheme.
The bus was welcomed by representatives of Age Concern’s committee, drivers and users at a short ceremony, when the key was handed over to the bus coordinator, Bob Parmenter, by Chris Knight, chairman of Age Concern.
Liz Waterland, publicity officer, said: “We were all delighted to be able to look round the lovely new vehicle, which replaces our old and unreliable one.
“This will enable our services to the older people of the Deepings to continue for many years to come and is all due to the hard work and support given to us by hundreds of members of the community.
“We would like to thank, through your paper, everyone who contributed and supported us so generously and are delighted that we now have the replacement vehicle.”
The new bus, named Ernie following a Facebook competition, has yet to have its badge and sponsorship information added but will start work immediately around the local area.
For more information about Age Concern Deepings’ campaign and its services call Liz Waterland 01778 343722.