A CASH-STRAPPED community group needs to raise tens of thousands of pounds to replace a “lifeline” mini-bus.
Sunderland East Community Association uses the bus to take elderly people to lunch clubs and bingo sessions at the centre in Hendon, as well as trips further afield.
But the minibus is ageing and now the centre needs to raise £30,000 to buy a new vehicle and have it specially adapted for wheelchair users.
Centre chairwoman Marj Turner said despite being rundown, the minibus is a lifeline for older people.
“We’ve had it absolutely donkey’s years. It is costing us a lot of money to keep on the road in repairs, because it is just one thing after another.
“It is a lot of money to a community centre like us that is all charity-based, so we have to find the money all the time to keep the centre running and the bus.” She appealed for anyone willing to make a donation to get in touch.
“It is a lifeline. Think of our older generation down here, who without this centre would never get out and would never meet people.”
Ward councillor Michael Mordey is also giving his backing to the centre, which has about 100 visitors a week, including youngsters who attend martial arts classes.
He said: “It is very important campaign, not only to the people who use the community association, but the wider commuity in the East End.
“It is a lifeline for many older residents, to come from all over the area to use the facilities.”
Volunteers at the centre are planning a host of fund-raising events, including a sponsored walk next month.
Anyone who wants to make a donation should mark it for the attention of Marj and take it to the Community Assoication building which is behind the Old Orphanage, in Moor Terrace.