WARRINGTON’S Dial-a-Ride transport charity is facing a new crisis with plans for a new Waste Transfer Centre off Winwick Road set to create even more problems from dust and debris.
Dial-a-Ride has been operating from a site at the far end of Athlone Rd for many years and is currently surrounded by a cement works, skip hire company an access road and now an application for a Waste Transfer Centre on the remaining side “being championed” by Warrington Council’s Executive Board.
Former mayor Cllr Geoff Settle, a former Vice-Chair of Warrington Community Transport saidf: “Dial-a-Ride will be surrounded by fallout cloud of dust and debris from the neighbouring operations that will lead to further damage and corrosion to the mini busses and a deteriorating environment for staff to work in.
“Dial-a-Ride has always been a cash poor charity with little or no reserves. Two years ago at one point we had to fund a 3-month gap in our finances or we would have gone bust. If it hadn’t been for the Bill Holdroyd Foundation and the NHS it would have been lights out for the charity.
“It was a very stressful time and at one point we were down to only 5 trustees from 10, due to resignations and deaths. A former chair of the charity heard of the situation and helped us formulate a rescue plan. She said that she would join the board and bring people with her if the borough council accepted it, however it led to two more resignations!
Mr Settle added: “The sponsors and partners scrutinised and approved the new business plan. We were also told that if we survived to the start of next financial year we would receive funding albeit at a greatly reduced level.
“Dial-a-Ride didn’t collapse and the rescue plan was a success. It did however mean that that we had to halve the fleet and associated drivers, create a new network operational model and take the bold step of not replacing our manager when he retired. At the end of the year. In short it became a self-managing team.
“We had to pay out redundancies, eating into the limited reserves, reduce the distances the mini buses could travel. One knock on effect has meant that we couldn’t provide a service to Disability Awareness Day this year.
“Given that Warrington Borough Council are in favour of the new waste transfer centre we need to move. We can no longer stay in the current location. I believe that Dial-a-Ride is now at another critical milestone and needs to come up with a second rescue plan.
“We have looked at many sites to find a suitable location without success. The ones offered by WBC Estate Management have been either inappropriate, too run down or too expensive.”
Mr Settle added: If anyone knows of a suitable site that is safe and secure, can accommodate 5 or 6 mini buses and staff vehicles, office space for two to three staff members, a room for drivers to make refreshments and suitable toilet facilities for a reasonable rent pleas let us know!”
The charity can be contacted on 01925 419988 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org