A Ripon charity has celebrated the arrival of a new, purpose-built, minibus with a special ceremony for sponsors, donors and Members.
Last Spring, Ripon Community Link embarked on a major fund-raising campaign to replace their old vehicle “Kermit”, which had come to the end of road after many years’ faithful service.
This week, the brand-new replacement was unveiled – and named – at a celebration event hosted at Rudding House, which has given numerous volunteer days, as well as holding charity golf days and supported other events in aid of the minibus appeal.
“James”, which can transport 12 people plus two wheelchairs, will now be used primarily at the charity’s St Wilfrid’s Bungalow site, transporting Members, volunteers and staff to events and activities around the district.
Ripon Community Link chief executive Victoria Ashley said: “Just under a year ago we began this ambitious fundraising appeal for a replacement for Kermit.
“Today sees its conclusion, and everyone at Ripon Community Link, in particular our members, cannot be happier.
“We are indebted to everyone who gave to the appeal – individuals, businesses and organisations alike – and thanks to their generosity and support, we now have this magnificent vehicle.
“We are extremely grateful to Simon Bailes Peugeot for their expertise. This is the first time that we have been able to purchase a new vehicle, and the specification has been designed to meet the need of our members.
“Our ability to provide supported transport is key to the provision of our services. It allows members to travel, broadening the range of opportunities and experiences open to them, and strengthening our community integration. James really is going to make a big difference to our members.”
The charity is a leading provider of innovative day support services for Ripon people with learning difficulties, and operated from two sites, St Wilfrid’s Bungalow and Ripon Walled Garden.
Those thanked by Mrs Ashley were: Lightwater Quarries, West Riding Masonic Charities Limited, Rudding Park, Rotary Club of Ripon, Coun Mike Chambers (NYCC Locality Grant) , Marton-cum-Grafton, Simon Bailes, Open Gardens and confidential donors, Members and Families.