Highbury day centre in minibus plea: ‘So many people rely on us’

Mayor of Islington Kat Fletcher launches a fundraising appeal for a minibus at Sotheby Mews Day Cent

Mayor of Islington Kat Fletcher launches a fundraising appeal for a minibus at Sotheby Mews Day Centre in Highbury. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A popular Highbury lunch club for over-55s could be forced to shut unless the day centre that runs it can cough up thousands for a new minibus.

Sotheby Mews will lose its current vehicle at the start of July. Islington Council is no longer able to fund it due to government cuts.

On Wednesday, centre staff and Mayor of Islington Kat Fletcher launched a £20,000 crowdfunding appeal for a new bus, as well as insurance, repairs and fuel for one year.

The current bus is used by 100 people every week to transport them from their homes to the centre, in Sotheby Road. It is also used for day trips and weekly food shoppingtrips.

Older people services manager Nigel Williams said: “We transport people from across Islington. Without a bus our lunch club would lose 20 people a day, which could mean the entire club closes.

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“It would have a huge impact on our clients. They come here for company. It’s a social meeting point for friends and they leave with smiles on their faces. Many say they would be confined to their homes without the minibus coming to pick them up.”

The crowdfunding appeal has a 30-day limit. If successful, Mr Williams will not miss the current minibus.

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“It’s old and decrepit and as long as we get a new one, we will be glad to see the back of it,” he said.

“This new one will be easier on our staff and clients, as wheelchair and low mobility access is difficult. Some have stopped turning up because it is too hard to get on.”

To donate to the Sotheby Mews Day Centre minibus appeal, visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/sotheby-mews-minibus

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