SPOTLIGHT: Happy Wanderers Ambulance Organisation impacted by Covid-19
06 August 2020
Happy Wanderers provides transport to older people and disabled people, who have special transport needs and are unable to use public transport or taxi services. Les from the charity told the Local Lotto about the local good cause and how it has been impacted by Covid-19:
We have two special wheelchair adapted mini buses with ramps and access support and security fixing floor rails. Most of our users are over 65 years old although we also support some younger adults with special needs. All our beneficiaries find huge difficulties in getting out of their homes and for many our mini-buses provide them with their only opportunity "to go places and meet people". We take people to their holiday destinations, to church, to visit friends and family, shopping trips, seaside expeditions and trips to the theatre. We take groups of friends and family groups, many from care home settings and self-help local charity groups e.g. Supporting Older People. There are almost no uses that Happy Wanderers vehicles are not put to in order to help people who may otherwise be stuck inside their homes.
One of the oldest local charities in Harrogate, Happy Wanderers was founded in 1958. We provide our transport service without charge; this ensures no older person is denied the opportunity to get out of their home because of their lack of resources or level of disability. We therefore depend up voluntary and fundraised income to meet our costs.
Due to Covid 19 we have lost all our usual street and supermarket collections for this spring and summer and this represents nearly £2k of voluntary income. In addition, we are not currently transporting passengers due to the virus. We have made our mini buses available for use by NHS, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and North Yorkshire County Council; this loss of donation income is currently around £3k. Although not currently used, our vehicles still need to be insured, maintained and serviced and voluntary income is vital for use to do this.
Our mini buses are ready to respond to the future needs of older and disabled people, post Covid, in the Harrogate community. Loneliness is a major problem facing many of our beneficiaries and our transport enables many people achieve a level of independence and connection with their local community that would be otherwise impossible. Happy Wanderers provides transport to often socially isolated individuals and offers them a feeling of improved well-being, increased self-worth and the opportunity to have fun.
Support Happy Wanderers Ambulance Organisation by playing the Local Lotto: https://www.thelocallotto.co.uk/support/happy-wanderers-ambulance-organisation
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