Project: Distributing essential food parcels, assisting vulnerable clients to medical appointments and making regular keep-in-touch calls
Fund: NET Coronavirus Appeal (more info)
Chilterns Dial-a-Ride is a local charity that provides a person-centred, accessible and safe transport service for people living in or close to the Chiltern Hills who have mobility problems and cannot drive or use public transport.
In normal times, they run a door-to-door round trip service for their vulnerable clients, of whom 65% are elderly, 35% are wheelchair bound and a further 30% require a walking aid.
With the coronavirus outbreak, Chilterns Dial-a-Ride adapted swiftly and decisively in order to best support the local community. They worked closely with Buckinghamshire Council, linking in with their eight local support hubs which have overseen the coordination and distribution for the council’s volunteer support network, to establish how they could help during the crisis.
With the support of a £5,000 grant from the NET Coronavirus Appeal, Chilterns Dial-a-Ride were able to use their vehicles to help with essential food parcels, assistance with prescriptions and regular keep-in-touch calls with their clients, for whom their trips with Chilterns Dial-a-Ride are a lifeline. They also contacted all of their local GP surgeries and health centres to offer transportation for patients needing to attend medical appointments.
Throughout the pandemic, Chilterns Dial-a-Ride have been running their food distribution service free of charge and they have ensured that a minibus and driver has been available every day of the working week. They have been using their larger minibuses, in order to maintain social distancing during journeys, and their drivers wear PPE and ensure the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned.
“It’s great that Chilterns Dial-a-Ride has found such a role to play during the crisis”, shares Chairman David Ouvry. “Buckinghamshire Council have been so proactive in providing community support and we are doing our bit. It is costly to provide our essentially free service during this pandemic and we are especially grateful to Heart of Bucks who have given us a timely grant to help out”.
Chilterns Dial-a-Ride driver Andy Hatchett, 63 from Chesham, gives an example of a recent day’s work:
“Today I picked up no less than 40 food parcels from the Wycombe-based food bank One Can for delivery in the Wycombe area (they now deliver well over 400 food parcels every week). That day, I also took a lady to Hughenden Valley Surgery and came back to take her home later. People naturally feel worried about coming out, but they feel confident and safe travelling with us. It’s a privilege to be doing such an important job”.