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Metrobus unveil new poppy bus at West Sussex Poppy Appeal launch

Metrobus’ new poppy bus was officially unveiled at the West Sussex Poppy Appeal launch at the Wings Museum in Handcross last Saturday (October 27).

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It’s particularly poignant given that November 11 is the centenary of Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War, as well as being Remembrance Sunday. The bus will also take part in the Armistice Day procession in Tilgate Park, Crawley, when the millennium beacon will be lit.

The launch began with a two minutes’ silence and an introduction by Bruce Forbes, the Chairman of Mid Sussex District Council. The family event included a poppy making workshop and live music, with an accent on the 1940s and fifties, and the Copthorne Silver Band.

Michael Richardson, Ron Woolley, John Grantham and the Angel Delights (singers).

Metrobus will be giving veterans and serving members of the armed forces free travel on Sunday November 11, as a small thank you and a mark of respect.

Metrobus’ Managing Director Martin Harris said:

“The poppy bus honours the memory of the millions of soldiers killed in the terrible conflict of WWI but the poppy is also a potent symbol of the sacrifices made in all past conflicts.

“Above all, the remembrance poppy symbolises hope, the hope that we can create a more peaceful world in the future and the belief that this is the best way to honour those who fell. This message is as relevant today as it was in 1918.

“We hope the poppy bus will help raise money for the vital work the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal does for veterans and serving men and women in our armed forces.”

The poppy bus will serve Metrobus routes in the Crawley area, as well as attending official events.

Charity

‘Springboard are not closing because we were increasing the rent’ says Leader of Crawley Council

Reports that the charity will have to close their Langley Green site because of rent increase are just not true says Councillor Peter Lamb.

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[Image: Google Maps]

In response to the claims that the charity Springboard would have to close their Langley Green site due to a rent increase by Crawley Borough Council, Leader the Council Peter Lamb has written publicly to address the issue.

Posting on his own blog he says:

“I’m aware that a number of mistruths are being circulated around about this, so in the interests of fairness I thought you might like a true account of events.

When Springboard opened they decided to take on a commercial property at a commercial rent.

“I agreed to look at freezing the rent and guaranteeing the council’s grant funding for a number of years”

At this time all the risks were highlighted to them, but they decided to take on the property nonetheless and various public sector organisations provided grant funding to help set the property up and pay for some of the running costs.

Last year I met with the new chief executive of the charity who flagged up that they were in financial difficulties, that he understood the circumstances under which the charity had taken on the property but they were struggling.

At the time I agreed to look at freezing the rent and guaranteeing the council’s grant funding for a number of years and I was given to understand that that might be enough to ensure the charity’s presence in the town. I looked into it and reported back that we could commit to such an arrangement.

“It is very sad that the charity is closing but it is not though any unreasonable behaviour on the council’s part

When I met with the chief executive again in February I was informed that the charity’s financial position had worsened and that freezing the rent and guaranteeing the grant would not be enough for the charity to be able to maintain its presence in Crawley.

I said that we weren’t in a position to commit to the tens of thousands of pounds in additional funding which were requested, but that we’d be willing to form part of a solution alongside WSCC and the CCG who have legal responsibility for the groups Springboard works with.

For some reason this was not seen to be seen as an acceptable solution and I did not hear anything further until I was informed Springboard were closing.

Springboard are not closing because we were increasing the rent (despite their signing up to that contract), nor because of any cuts to their grant funding by CBC but because their financial position worsened due to the loss of a major donor and Crawley Borough Council were not in a place to make up the gap without the support of the two organisations legally responsible for Springboard’s client group.

It is very sad that the charity is closing but it is not though any unreasonable behaviour on the council’s part, particularly when you consider we were the only organisation which expressed a willingness to help despite having no formal remit to do with Springboard’s work.”

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