HMR Circle’s Volunteer Drivers Service completes 1,000th lockdown transport request
Date published: 11 September 2020
Volunteer Driver, Chris Heap and passenger Colin Whittaker who undertook the 1,000th trip
The HMR Circle Volunteer Drivers Service passed a milestone on Thursday (10 September), taking its 1,000th transport request during lockdown.
Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale (HMR) Circle is a not-for-profit community interest company which works to reduce social isolation in older people through social events, practical support, befriending and a volunteer drivers service.
The organisation celebrated its eighth birthday during the pandemic, which forced it to repurpose its activities, moving social activities online and supporting the Covid Local Response Hubs, set up to provide emergency food parcels, assistance with shopping and medicines, and wellbeing assistance.
After lockdown started on 23 March, the volunteer drivers service changed from a passenger service to collecting and delivering prescriptions, standard food shopping, emergency food parcels and essential PPE to doctors’ surgeries. The service even helped distribute support activities such as craft packs.
Drivers have been supplied with masks, gloves, sanitiser, face screens, disinfectant wipes as well as branded Hi-Vis vests and lanyards.
Working with the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group, a limited amount of passenger transport by HMR Circle’s volunteer drivers restarted recently.
HMR Circle Director Mark Wynn said: "When the lockdown hit we were unsure of how the HMR Circle Volunteer Drivers Service would cope, but our volunteers and staff team have been amazing, repurposing the service to collect and deliver prescriptions, shopping, PPE delivery, as well thankfully being able to reintroduce passenger transport recently.
"It is fitting that our 1000th trip since lockdown should be one of our traditional passenger trips to a hospital appointment, making sure older people can be looked after in the best possible way."
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