When Kevyn Powell launched an online appeal to fund vital repairs for his charity’s two minibuses, he expected to be in for a lengthy wait.
But just a fortnight after launch of the crowdfunding bid Banbury Assisted Transport Scheme (BATS) has reached more than twice its £400 target thanks to a surprise intervention by Banbury Cross Round Table.
Mr Powell, 59, operates BATS with the help of fellow volunteer Paul Baker, 58. The pair offer lifts to the shops or even full days out to vulnerable people and local groups like St Francis Community Drop-in (pictured). BATS receive no financial support and rely entirely on donations.
So when the time came to carry out £800 repairs and statutory inspections of the wheelchair lifts of two Mercedes Sprinter Treka minivans, the volunteers were forced to appeal for help online or else dip into their own pockets.
Without the lifts BATS would be unable to cater for some of the most vulnerable people it serves, including wheelchair users and people with mobility problems.
But in response to last week’s article in the Banbury Guardian, the Banbury Cross Round Table donated £900, more than enough to repair and inspect both lifts and carry out some additional maintenance.
Simon Jupe, of Banbury Cross Round Table said: “When I read about Kevyn’s story on the Banbury Guardian Facebook page I knew this was something we wanted to support. Kevyn shows a lot of commitment and a sense community spirit. It seems like a worthwhile cause and is something the Round Table wanted to support.”
Mr Powell, said: “This is a fantastic donation. Without the lifts I would have been unable to take out six of the 16 members of St Francis Community Drop-in I drove today.”
Hazel McDermid of St Francis’ Community Drop-in, added: “Kevyn is absolutely brilliant with us. He has been driving me for 20 years and he gives us an invaluable service which makes it easy for people otherwise unable to get out of the house to go places.”
BATS was set up by Kevyn Powell after the closure of Banbury Community Transport Association in 2012. The charity at that time was contracted out to help provide the Dial-a-Ride service. Oxfordshire County Council are now undergoing consultation on proposals to axe Dial-a-Ride altogether to save £250,000.