Sidmouth Hopper bus cash pledge hope

SIDMOUTH’S Hopper bus has been handed a cash boost worth thousands of pounds.

SIDMOUTH’S Hopper bus has been handed a cash boost worth thousands of pounds.

Driving forces hope a pledge from the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund- to match donations from businesses- will help keep it running for years to come.

The money will prove vital as the valued summer service, which carried more than 10,000 passengers in 2010, moves away from dwindling public funding - according to its co-ordinator, working party chairman and town councillor John Dyson.

“I’m delighted to announce the Keith Owen Fund has provided a grant to the Hopper for the next three years at a level of �4,000 to �7,000 to match support given by businesses in the town,” Councillor Dyson told the Herald this week.

“We have raised just short of �4,000 from the business community and we should hope, in due course, to increase that to nearer �7,000. The Hopper will then be fully supported in approximately equal measures by Sidmouth Town Council, local businesses and the Sid Vale Association through the Keith Owen Fund.”

Mr Dyson added the “three-pronged” approach would be a significant step towards making the Hopper a “sustainable addition to Sidmouth’s summer offer to visitors and local residents alike.”

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“This puts the onus on the working party to encourage businesses to support it,” said Mr Dyson.

“One hundred pounds would mean �200 for the Hopper. I hope that incentive will carry weight with business people from within the town who benefit from this service.”

The Herald reported last year how the Hopper faced losing �5,000 of East Devon District Council cash- a third of its overall funding.

“We have got to raise as much extra money as we can,” said Mr Dyson.

“I can guarantee the bus will run this year from May 1 to September 30.

“We’re very grateful for the support we’ve had in recent years and are aiming to build on that,” he added.