Keeping town glued together

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Rye community bus

Applications to the Rye Fund for grant help are being sought by October 9, and one recipient of help last year, Rye Community Transport, sets out how it helped to save the town’s 326 bus service after East Sussex County Council’s (ESCC) cuts in funding meant the service would be cut to only two days a week – whereas it actually increased this year from a five day service to a six day one, with Saturday buses for the first time.

Thanks to the generosity of local people says the Rye Fund, and with the benefit of substantial match funding received under the government’s Grassroots Endowment Challenge, grants totaling £7,000 were awarded to ten groups in the fifth round of funding late last year. They were :

  • Rye Scout Group – Lighting for path to Scout Hut
  • Counselling Plus – Hardship fund for Rye
  • Entertainment Workshop – Upgrade of Equipment
  • Music Well – Therapy sessions
  • Rye Community Centre – Refurbishment of main floor
  • Rye and District Community Transport – Saving the 326 service
  • Rye Museum Association – Equipment
  • Rye and District Sea Cadets – Anzac cadet visit to Australia
  • Rye Wurlitzer Academy – Lessons and preservation
  • St Michael’s Hospice – Hospice Home Service

The panel regretted that it was not able to give grants to all the applicants, but on balance they were satisfied that the projects chosen best fitted the eligibility criteria and were of all round benefit to the community as a whole.

Applications are invited from groups and organisations, within a 9km radius of Rye, for funding projects up to £1,000. All applications will be considered, including any from groups previously funded.

The closing date for applications is Friday October 9 and simple application forms can be downloaded from the Sussex Community Foundation website or a paper copy obtained from the office (01273 409440) email info@sussexgiving.org.uk

For further information please contact John Holbrook, Chairman, Rye Fund Local Panel, on 01797  229364 or chairman@theryefund.org.uk

Rye Community Transport (RCT) said: “The grant from the Rye Fund has been key to RCT’s “independent” running of the 326 Rye Town Service. It was a scary but completely necessary decision to go it alone – the route had been part of ESCC’s supported bus services for over 12 years, but the truncated version that would have remained after last year’s review of supported bus services (two days of operation) would have cut off residents from all over Rye from getting to shops and services and created serious isolation.

“One of the most important features of the new service is the extension from five to six day operation with the introduction of Saturday running. This is the complete timetable, just as on Monday to Friday and has proved very popular, particularly as it enables people to get up to the High Street.

“Most Saturdays see over 45 passengers using the service (and a peak of 64 at one point). In a full week well over 400 passengers travel on the service and all appreciate the service that the Rye Fund and other donors have given, making the service possible.

“Of course RCT has to continue to find funding and financial support for its services – that is a day in, day out task, but we are committed to the future of our operations. As former councillor Sam Souster put it so succinctly, ‘Community Transport is the glue that holds our community together’. ”

Sources: Rye Fund and Rye Community Transport)

Photo: Ray Prewer