Saturday, 22 September 2018

Appeal for money to continue Readibus

PENSIONERS are being urged to consider donating their winter fuel allowance towards keeping the Readibus service in Goring going, writes James Burton.

The fortnightly dial-a-ride service, which shuttles up to 11 people with disabilities into Reading and back in a specially adapted vehicle, may have to wind up in September next year unless it receives more funding.

It costs £1,400 a year to run, half of which is provided by Goring Parish Council while the Goring Mobility Issues Group pays the rest through a combination of fund-raising and its own resources.

However, some sources of income have dried up so the group is seeking alternatives and has warned Readibus, which is a charity, that the money may no longer be available.

Everyone born before May 5, 1953 receives a fuel allowance of between £100 and £300 from the Government.

The group believes some people could afford to give this away.

Chairman John Boler said: “We’ve reached the end of the donations that we’ve been able to raise spontaneously.

“Unless we can continue to raise our half, we will either have to stop the service or fall back on the parish council, which I’m sure is facing plenty of other pressures.

“We’ve alerted Readibus because we can’t just drop it on them at the last minute — there are jobs at stake and they need to be able to make decisions in advance.

“If people don’t need their winter fuel allowance, it could keep a vital service going for elderly and disabled people.

“It’s the only way some people can access certain shops and services that aren’t available in Goring.”

The service ran once a week until Oxfordshire County Council stopped funding it in 2013.

Since then, passenger numbers have increased by about 1,000 per year.

If the mobilities group can’t raise its half of the money for 2017 onwards in full, the parish council says it will consider making up the
difference.

For more information, call Mr Boler on (01491) 873481 or send him an email at jboler@btinternet.com 

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