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Sheppey Matters has enough money to buy a new minibus after its existing one broke down

By Emma Grove

A charity which was worried it might have to let people down after its minibus gave up the ghost has been granted funding for a brand new one.

Sheppey Matters, which is based at the leisure centre in Sheerness, provides transport for many members of the community on the Island.

Last month, its white eight-year-old Renault Master packed up while on its usual route dropping off clients of Blackburn Lodge care home in the town.

This white minibus belonging to Sheppey Matters has had to have a new engine fitted
This white minibus belonging to Sheppey Matters has had to have a new engine fitted

The AA was called and it had to be towed to a garage in Faversham and was fitted with a brand new engine – and the charity was slapped with a bill of £3,000.

It happened last month and the bus was finally returned home last week.

Manager at Sheppey Matters, Nigel Martin, said it doesn’t really get much of a run around as it just does jobs on the Island and the engine tended to clog up.

Volunteers for the charity were desperately trying to raise funds to recoup the cost and have ended up with enough to buy a new minibus to make its fleet up to three.

The £25,000 they have been pledged has come from Kent County Council’s disabled children’s services and Cllr Adrian Crowther who represents Sheppey at county hall.

Sheppey Leisure Centre in Sheerness
Sheppey Leisure Centre in Sheerness

Mr Martin said the new addition to its vehicles, which they hope to purchase next month, will make a real difference to the charity.

They are hoping to get a nine-seater which he says will give them more flexibility as more people will be able to drive it and they are also planning to look into the possibility of hiring it out.

“We are increasing our fleet and this will give us a longer life span as far as the bus is concerned,” he said.

“We will be able to increase what we do with disabled children. I would like to say a big thank you to Cllr Crowther and KCC.”

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