11:00AM, Friday 11 October 2019
Photo credit: Steph Simonetti
A charity described as a ‘lifeline’ by the people who use it has received a £1,000 donation from the Louis Baylis Trust.
Slough Community Transport and ShopMobility (SCTS) enables older people, and those with physical or mental disabilities, to access their local communities.
Users of SCTS are escorted to hospital appointments, places of worship, day centres, lunch clubs, and to see family and friends.
George Howard, chief executive of the charity, described the social outings as ‘equally essential for people’s wellbeing’ as the medical appointments.
He said: “Our members would absolutely describe us as a lifeline because a lot of them only go out when we take them.”
A team of 12 volunteers and paid drivers run SCTS Monday to Saturday from 7am until late across Slough, Burnham, Taplow, Iver, Iver Heath and Stoke Poges.
It operates using 10 community minibuses and two wheelchair accessible cars.
Last year the charity provided 7,600 journeys for local people through its Dial a Ride service.
Mr Howard added: “We’re proud to say we don’t have a waiting list, we always try to accommodate people where possible.”
This might mean transport is shared by two people going to the same destination to fit in all the people who need the charity’s help.
The money given to the charity by the Louis Baylis Trust has been spent on maintaining the charity's fleet of its vehicles.
George said: “Inevitably this level of activity leads to vehicle wear and tear and because safety is always our primary concern sometimes we are forced to take a vehicle off road until fundraising for repairs can be carried out.
“The generous donation from the Louis Baylis Trust has been used to keep all of our vehicles roadworthy and in good condition this summer.”
In April SCTS was looking for a base after Computer Associates, a Datchet-based business which provided free parking spaces to the charity for 15 years, was sold.
George said SCTS is ‘tremendously grateful’ to Berkshire Garden Centre in Sutton Lane, Iver which now allows the charity to park its vehicles there for free.
George explained the charity is ‘very much dependent year-to-year on people’s generosity’.
He said they ‘would love to do more’ for the users of the service but there is ‘the challenge of making the funds stretch’.
To find out more about SCTS or to volunteer to help go to the website
www.sloughcommunitytransport.com or call the charity on 01753 691131.
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