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New bus needed to keep Sprint service going

A well-used community transport service providing a lifeline to older people in Knowle West is desperately in need of a new bus to keep going.

The Sprint service runs from Inns Court Community and Family Centre taking local people to groups, on shopping trips and monthly excursions – and has over 300 members.

The only Sprint bus currently on the road with driver Ange.

At the moment one of the buses is off the road and in need of repair, so there is a reduced service – and The Sprint will have to raise £30,000 for a new vehicle.

Centre Manager Sue Jones told The Knowledge: “We have a 14 seater Fiat that has been in the garage since last October…

“This means we are reliant on one 14-seater bus and a people carrier. However, the people carrier is very old and also too low for some of our members with severe mobility issues…

“We’ve had some very generous donations from our members and this is gradually building up. It’s hoped with some more donations we can then match fund to buy a good second-hand accessible 14 seater-bus which will cost around £30,000.”

Members have been attending coffee mornings to bring in funds and this summer the Centre laid on a two-course lunch, raffle and a pom pom class – raising £129.

Mede Sprint members taking part in a fundraiser.

The Sprint is also in need of more volunteer drivers – which along with a new bus could “significantly increase” the service.

Ninety-two-year-old Stan Whitchurch says: “…I use it for doctors’ appointments, social clubs and going for lunch and shopping with my friend.  Taxi fares I just couldn’t afford so The Sprint is literally my only way out of the house…”

And Josie Dingle (74) says: “I wouldn’t manage without The Sprint, I wouldn’t go out.   I go on trips and to my exercise class and an intergenerational class with children.  All of which I enjoy so much.  I have made lots of friends and the staff and drivers are always friendly.”

To donate or volunteer to drive contact The Sprint at Inns Court Community and Family Centre in Marshall Walk on 0117 904 1220.