Battle to save lifeline minibus

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A bus service that takes adults with learning disabilities on a much-enjoyed weekly trip is in danger of facing closure.

The minibus escorts 16 people from Ilkeston to HappiVale Social Club. in Tamworth Road, Long Eaton, every Friday night for a social gathering.

Passengers who use the service are unable to travel independently, with a range of conditions including Down’s syndrome, autism and epilepsy.

Organiser Wendy Prati, is now urgently appealing for funds amid fears they may have to terminate the service, which has been running for more than 25 years.

She said: “I want to keep it going so I’ve got to do something.

“It’s the only time these people get some independence, are able to be themselves and see their friends.”

The bus costs £70 to hire for a night and passengers are charged £6 for the return trip, but money is always lost when people are absent or unwell.

Wendy revealed there is a shortfall every month which they don’t quite meet and she’s worried they’ll soon lose the service altogether.

“I’m not asking for the world,” she said.

“But we need to build up our finances to make sure we’re on solid ground.”

The 55-year-old wanted to stress how much the service means to everyone.

She said: “They love it and for a lot of them it’s the one thing they look forward to every week.”

To make a donation to keep the special bus service running, please contact Wendy on 01159444945.