Lancaster volunteer driver takes couple aged 90 and 100 for their Covid-19 vaccination

Community Cars, the volunteer lift-giving service, is supporting the region’s Covid-19 Vaccination roll-out by providing transport to vaccination centres for older and disabled people without access to their own car, or who need support travelling.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 12:35 pm

Its first booking was for a married couple aged 90 and 100 respectively and last Wednesday, a Lancaster-based volunteer driver picked them up and took them to the Vaccination Centre on the Lancaster University Campus.

Julie Pole, who organises the Community Cars service, said: “We are getting an increasing number of calls from elderly people who want to get vaccinated but who are worried about transport arrangements.

"Some of these calls have been from long-standing service users, but we are now receiving calls from would-be passengers who have been referred to us through the voluntary sector Covid support network and who had no other means of getting to their vaccination site. Many of the centres, including Lancaster, are located and designed around a drive-through model which is fine for those with their own car or whose family can take them.

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There is a Covid-19 vaccination centre at Lancaster University.

"But there are many people in the first group to be vaccinated (those aged over 80) who don’t have their own transport, have difficulty using buses or who cannot comfortably walk to a Centre, and that’s where we step in. People in rural areas face a particular challenge in taking up the vaccination offer.”

“I understand the vaccination process went well with both our passengers reporting that they ‘didn’t feel a thing’.

"Our driver was able to park close to the Centre and helped them walk (one of the passengers normally uses a walking frame) onto the site where there was a well-organised reception area with socially distanced seating.

"Those receiving a vaccination were asked to wait for around 15 minutes before leaving as a precaution against the rare possibility of an allergic reaction. Our driver waited with them and then took them home. We have them booked in already for their second vaccination appointment.”

The Community Cars service is run by Preston Community Transport and operates across the Fylde, Lancaster, Preston, South Ribble and Wyre districts.

A bank of trained volunteers use their own cars to provide essential journeys for those in need, and since the beginning of the pandemic all volunteers have been operating to strict Covid-19 sanitisation and safety arrangements.

There is a small charge to cover the cars’ operating costs.

As the vaccination programme ramps up in the next few months across Lancashire, Community Cars is expecting demand to increase and so is looking to recruit more volunteers who have access to a car and can give up some spare time to help others in their local area.

To learn more about the Community Car service, call Julie on 01772 516208.