Go North Devon (GND) has launched an urgent £61,000 appeal to keep its Ring and Ride service going.

Go North Devon Ring & Ride passengers from South Molton enjoying their weekly shopping trip into Barnstaple town centre. Picture: GNDGo North Devon Ring & Ride passengers from South Molton enjoying their weekly shopping trip into Barnstaple town centre. Picture: GND

The charity needs to replace its existing wheelchair-accessible minibus, which keeps breaking down, as well as address a funding shortfall of more than £20,000 needed to keep it operating.

Go North Devon is struggling financially and says for the past two years it has been using its reserves to keep services running.

The service has been running for 25 years around North Devon and is a lifeline for people who struggle to get into town or to local facilities due to a disability, ill health and rural isolation.

GND currently has 284 passengers registered to use the service and the charity says it helps to reduce loneliness and issues such as anxiety and depression.

The door-to-door service allows passengers to not only do their weekly shopping but attend vital health appointments and collect important prescriptions.

The existing minibus has been in service for 10 years, is no longer fuel efficient and is rapidly declining, with high mileage and the charity says it has become a financial liability to keep on the road.

To keep the service going the GND team need to raise the money, buy a vehicle and arrange for it to be converted - from conversion to delivery can be as long as three months so time is of the essence.

But the charity said its board members are aware they cannot continue to draw upon diminishing cash reserves indefinitely to keep services running.

Sharon Lynch, GND manager, said: "Our clients depend on the generosity of compassionate people within our community who understand the importance of helping others who have reached a time in their lives when a little extra support to retain their independence is not a luxury but a necessity.

"Fundraising is proving to be more challenging this year than most and despite our best efforts and a rolling programme of fundraising activity we urgently need the support of the community to help us to protect our services."

You can make a donation online through Go North Devon's JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/campaign/saveourseats or follow the link on at www.gonorthdevon.co.uk or contact 01271 328866.