Community to the rescue after Keynsham Mencap's 'lifeline' bus is vandalised

April 29 2019
Community to the rescue after Keynsham Mencap's 'lifeline' bus is vandalised

A charity that suffered a “heartbreaking blow” after its minibus was vandalised has thanked the Keynsham community for coming to the rescue in its hour of need.

One of the two “crucial” vehicles used by Keynsham and District Mencap Society to transport its members to activities suffered hundreds of pounds worth of damage in the incident at the end of March.

Three of its tyres were slashed, the spare wheel stolen, the retaining steel cable cut, the side of the minibus scratched and a wing mirror lens removed resulting in a repair bill of more than £700.

The charity describes its minibus as a lifeline and the attack came just two weeks before members of the Music Man Project were due to travel to London in the vehicle to perform at the Royal Albert Hall.

The charity was already facing a “challenging time” after £150 of takings from one of its many clubs for people with learning difficulties was stolen from a member of staff.

Hearing of their plight, however, supporters and members of the community rallied round and donated enough money to cover almost the entire cost of the repairs after setting up an online appeal.  

With help from Ablefit Tyres and Exhausts in Brislington and Independent Welding Services in Kingswood, the bus was back on the road in plenty of time for the journey to London on April 15.

Operations manager Laura Jefferies said: “We are completely overwhelmed by the support of the community who have come to our aid in our hour of need and we can’t thank them enough. For a self-funding charity that relies on donations and the help of the community these events were a heartbreaking blow to the society.”

She added: “Thankfully the funds raised on our behalf will go a long way to putting right some of the damage that has been caused.”

Unfortunately it isn’t the first time the charity’s vehicles have suffered vandalism and the team is searching for a secure site to store both minibuses in Keynsham, where volunteer drivers can access them during the evenings and at weekends.

Anyone who can help can email or call 0117 986 5659.