Sudbury: Disabled will be “stranded”, warning

DISABLED people will be left “stranded and isolated” unless the community steps in to support a vital transport scheme, it was claimed last night.

The grim warning was voiced yesterday by Brenda Powell, leader of the Sudbury area Gateway Club, which offers social, learning and leisure activities for individuals with learning disabilities.

She told how many of the club’s members would not to be able to attend the club without a volunteer transport service.

The Gateway Club is just one of several organisations supported by the Sudbury Town Areas Rural Transport (START), which closed last month after funding ran out.

A new organisation called Go START has been launched with the aim of saving the majority of the services previously provided by START.

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But Go START is calling on members of the community for support to enable it to continue to provide a wide range of transport services used by hundreds of schoolchildren, retired people and those with disabilities.

Mrs Powell said: “We urge everybody in the community to support Go START, as without it many local organisations, including ours, will struggle to survive.

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“We have a very limited budget and cannot afford our own transport, so we will be relying on Go START for all our transport needs.

“Many of our members live in remote villages and simply will not be able to attend the club without the services provided by Go START.”

The Gateway Club, which is affiliated to the national Royal Mencap charity, has more than 50 members from across the district and meets fortnightly for social and learning activities at Acton Village Hall.

“The trips we organise throughout the year are often life-changing experiences for our members.

“Once again, we will be relying on Go START to provide the transport for these trips.

“Without Go START, I have no doubt we would lose up to half our members who would then be left stranded and isolated,” said Mrs Powell.

Sudbury Town Council is backing Go START’s campaign.

Town clerk Sue Brotherwood said: “Without the support from the entire community, Go START may struggle to continue, which will have a devastating impact on the lives of so many local people.”

Go START needs drivers, vehicles, vehicle maintenance and volunteers to help man the phones.

Anyone who can help – or wants to support – Go START should contact John Phillips on 01787 310840 or 07718 736366 or Mrs Brotherwood at the council on 01787 372331 or by email at townclerk@sudburytown

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