Easilink Community Transport have a new Rural Links to Health and Wellbeing Project, which is providing a subsidised door-to-door transport service to people in the Easilink Operational area (Omagh, Strabane and Rural L’Derry) who have no access to either public transport or private transport to attend hospital and health related appointments and activities across the Western Trust area.
Speaking about the project, Kerrie Grugan, Project Coordinator said “The Rural Links to Health and Wellbeing Project enables previously unavailable travel options for our service users. It addresses the issue of access to hospital and health related appointments for people living in Omagh, Strabane and rural Derry/Londonderry.
The service is mainly delivered by our volunteer car drivers, but we also have accessible minibuses for those with mobility issues to help ensure health appointments are not missed because of transport issues. There is a small fee for this service, but the fares are heavily subsidised thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund. Without this funding the project would be impossible to deliver.”
John Murray from Fintona, County Tyrone commented about his experience as Volunteer Car Driver on the Rural Links service.
“I had seen an advertisement on Facebook that Easilink were looking for volunteer drivers, so I got in touch. I had recently retired from work and was looking for something to do that might give me an opportunity to give something back to my local community. I had my induction and within a month I started to drive for them.
I get a great level of satisfaction from volunteering with Easilink. Everyone I lift is so appreciative of the service provided and there is certainly a feel-good factor with it all. You are often taking people to hospital appointments or to the local GP. A lot of these people either can’t drive or don’t have access to a car. By providing them with a lift you are relieving a lot of pressure off them and their family. You’re also facilitating a greater level of access and independence into the lives of these individuals. I find it very rewarding.”
Harry Friar, Service User from Sion Mills commented, “As a frequent user of the above transport, my wife May and I have found the Easilink service very dependable for shopping to the local town, health appointments, and for my wife May visits to the hairdresser. Both of us lost our driving licence due to vision problems, and our grown-up family live away, which leaves us in a form of isolation.
Many thanks are to the car volunteers, minibus drivers for being courteous and very helpful. Many thanks also to the local office staff who arrange and organise. We Hope others will take advantage of this transport like ourselves as seniors.”
Easilink Community Transport are currently seeking more Volunteer Car Drivers to help deliver the Rural Links to Health and Wellbeing service. If you have a full clean driving license, access to your own car and free time to help your local community, then becoming an Easilink volunteer driver could be the perfect opportunity for you!
For further information visit the Easilink website www.easilink.org or contact Kerrie on 07702852582.