Devizes link service needs new funds

First published in News
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Devizes and District Link is seeking people with innovative ideas to raise money to ensure its sustainability.

The good neighbour scheme, which has been operating for more than 20 years, is taking money out of its reserves each year to plug the shortfall in income.

Treasurer Hywel Thomas estimates its reserves will run out in two to three years.

He said: “Our reserves have been built up thanks to three very big legacies, which have kept us going but they will run out.

“The users of Link make contributions to our costs, which runs to about 80 per cent of the mileage costs. We receive donations from parish and town councils and the carnival committee and we organise our own fundraising.

“We have the Hundred Club with 120 members who pay £1 a month, two collections at Morrisons and a Christmas raffle, but unfortunately the total raised from all these sources falls short of the total running cost by about £3,500 a year, and we make up the shortfall from reserves.

“We could really do with someone with an aptitude for fundraising, someone who has ideas about how we can raise more money.”

The main cost for Link is paying mileage to its volunteer drivers, which amounts to more than £15,000 a year out of a total spend of just over £20,000.

Other costs are paying a salary to its co-ordinator, telephone calls and stationery. Link pays 42p a mile and the typical number of journeys a year is 1,000, totalling around 40,000 miles undertaken by a pool of between 25 and 30 volunteers.

The majority of the trips (55 per cent) are taking people to the three district hospitals (Bath, Swindon and Salisbury) and 18 per cent are taking people to GP surgeries. Another 12 per cent are taking people to local hospitals including Devizes, Chippenham, Savernake and Trowbridge.

Sixty per cent of users are from Devizes, 11 per cent from Rowde, ten per cent from Potterne and the remainder from 22 other villages in the area.

To offer help, call chairman Jim Thorpe on (01380) 698464 or Mr Thomas on (01380) 725214.

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