A bitter blow for elderly

Charity Re-Connect are going to have to stop their community transport service because they cannot get any funding. They help more than 25,000 people in the district by providing buses to allow elderly people to go shopping/doctors etc.'Pictured: Chief Officer Helen Smith
Charity Re-Connect are going to have to stop their community transport service because they cannot get any funding. They help more than 25,000 people in the district by providing buses to allow elderly people to go shopping/doctors etc.'Pictured: Chief Officer Helen Smith

Thousands of elderly and disabled people could be left housebound if a community transport charity is allowed to go bust.

Re-Connect is a lifeline to 25,000 people around the district who rely on its Wakeybus to get to doctors appointments, supermarkets and social clubs.

But the volunteer run transport service will grind to a halt by the end of the month unless more cash can be found.

And there is only enough money to run it’s other services, including gardening and befriending, for another four months.

Manager Helen Smith said: “There are 25,000 people that use our services in Wakefield and in the region of a 180 different groups use our transport.

“I am very worried about the people that rely on us - what are they going to do when we are gone? We are the only community transport service in Wakefield that covers the whole of the area.

“Things are very, very dire and we need a miracle.”

The charity was set up in 2002 and charges people a small fee to use its transport services but it relies on funding and donations.

It costs around £5,500 each month to keep Re-Connect going, with £4,500 needed for the Wakeybus scheme.

Their last big grant, which came from the BIG Lottery Fund, is running out and a recent application for cash has been turned down.

The charity has some cash left from a Comic Relief grant that will keep its other services going but only until autumn.

Mrs Smith said: “To make matters worse we have two vehicles off the road at the moment. One was involved in an accident in Whitby on Tuesday and another has broken down.

“Private firms have come forward to lend us vehicles but we cannot carry on. We have no money to pay for the maintenance, the insurance or the safety checks that have to be carried out regularly.

“The charity has been going for nine years and it has built up a wonderful group of volunteers and a marvellous reputation for helping people. That is all going to be lost and when we’re gone it is going to be very hard to set up anything else like Re-Connect.”

To donate to Re-Connect or sponsor the charity call 01924 274400.