A CHARITY that offers vital transport for the elderly and disabled is faced with cutting back its service after funding was reduced.

Warrington Community Transport, based on Athlone Road, offers minibus travel to hospital appointments, care centres and community clubs.

Its ‘Dial-A-Ride’ service is used for 30,000 journeys a year, many by pensioners living alone, or those disabled and unable to travel independently.

Warrington Borough Council, which provides a grant to the charity, has announced it is to reduce funding by £72,000 over the next four years.

Brian Wilson, general manager of Warrington Community Transport, said the shortfall will result in vehicles being sold Three are due to go from the 13-strong fleet.

Money is also needed to repair and maintain others.

As a result, WCT would be able to transport less people and have to turn down requests for help, according to Mr Wilson.

He said: “We have to bring money in to replace them.

“If we cannot replace that funding then we need to look at how to make savings.

“That might ultimately mean we need to reduce the service, and that would be a real shame.

“We could not carry as many passengers and would be able to help less people.

“The service is essential for many of those people, but the service would be seriously curtailed.”

WCT costs £365,000 a year to run.

It is staffed by 13 paid employees, some part time and some full time, in addition to voluntary help.

One part time member of staff has left and not been replaced, while another has reduced hours to help trim the wage bill.

Warrington Borough Council still provides £125,000 a year to the charity.