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Elderly keep moving thanks to vital service

Castle Point Social Car Scheme is entering its thirteenth year; unlucky for some but not for this vital transport scheme for elderly and vulnerable people.

The scheme is run by volunteers in Castle Point and provides transport to help people get to the shops or around the community. There are over 600 active members using the service and 25 volunteer drivers.

Ray Butcher was one of the first volunteers who signed up to the scheme and even though he is 81, he is still driving and offering an essential service.

Mr Butcher said: “I retired and somebody I know in the Lions club mentioned about how it was going to set it up and asked if I would be interested in driving. When I started there were four drivers and seven clients and it’s gone on from there.”

The scheme is available to anyone who needs it, but there are regulars who use the service all the time.

He said: “There was a woman, who has passed away now, I regularly took out on Fridays to shop. Apart from the milkman, I was the only person she saw all week. Eventually we got her into a home. She had no relatives and had looked after her mother and father all her life, and by that stage she was nearly blind too.

“They’re the sort of people I like to help. There’s an awful lot of people like that. They’re so grateful for what you do, or so I think. Isolation is another illness and what we can do to help, we will.”

Members of the scheme must be residents of Castle Point and either 65 or over or registered as disabled.

For more information or to sign up as a volunteer or member, phone 01268 638411 or 01268 638419.

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