A lifeline dementia charity needs to urgently raise £55,000 to buy a new minibus after costly repairs and LEZ rules threatened to put them off the road.

Baillieston Community Care relies on the vehicle to pick up 35 service users from their homes spread across Glasgow and bring them to its day facility.

Bosses fear expensive repairs and ensuring the dated vehicle remains compliant with the council’s controversial new low emission rules could soon see it out of action – with staff now launching a JustGiving appeal to try and crowdfund for a replacement.

Charity CEO David Reilly explained: “Our service relies on the minibus to pick up people and get them here. These are elderly individuals who are living with dementia, many have no other way of getting from their homes to the centre or make the return journey. But the bus is getting old and it’s costing a small fortune to keep it on the road.

“It’s vital we have a reliable transport service to allow us to continue the work we do. As a small charity, we rely on donations to keep us going, and right now we just don’t have the cash to buy a new minibus that’s suitable for the people who use our day service.”

David says the charity is also concerned about having a vehicle which meets with changes to the law.

He added: “We also have the worry of LEZ in the future as the vehicle will soon reach the stage where it’s not meeting the rules. We just can’t afford getting to that stage, financially or as a charity.

“It’s hugely important that we continue to remain operational and get to the people who need our help.”

Vehicles which do not meet Glasgow City Council’s new emission standards are no longer able to enter parts of the city centre - and owners face fines which can rise to hundreds of pounds per day.

Glasgow Times: Staff have launched a fundraising drive.Staff have launched a fundraising drive. (Image: Newsquest)

The LEZ zone covers an area between the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and the Saltmarket/High Street to the east, with automatic number plate recognition cameras being installed to snare offenders.

The charity says its radius would preclude them from being able to pick up and drop off a number of clients without an eligible vehicle.

Day Service Manager Bernadette Gaffney explained how the charity offers breakfast, a two course lunch, craft and physical activities for those living with dementia, while also offering support and respite for families and carers.

She said: “Our ultimate aim is to support people to live well with dementia and to offer vital support before they reach crisis point.

“Our days service is fantastic and people love coming here. There is a real sense of community and our centre stops people from experiencing social isolation and feeling like they are having to cope on their own.

“We also provide days trips and outings, which is why getting a new minibus is crucial to enable us to continue the work we do.”

Dementia stops a person’s brain cells working properly in specific areas, affecting their ability to remember, think and speak. Symptoms – such as memory loss, confusion, and problems with speech and understanding – that get worse over time.

It can affect a person at any age but it’s more common in people over the age of 65.

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There are over 200 subtypes of the illness. The most common are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.

David added: “The work we do here is hugely important and we wouldn’t exist without the public backing us. The feedback we receive from people who rely on us and their families is wonderful and we are committed to doing everything we can to help people live independently for as long as possible.

“Services like ours are vital and we know demand is only going to increase in the coming years – that is why we need this help right now.”

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