ECT Charity is on a mission to end loneliness and isolation.
We do this by enabling those who are unable to access mainstream transport to venture out of their homes: whether for a shopping trip or doctor’s appointment, or an excursion to the seaside.
There are lots of people who work hard to make these journeys possible. Our Journey Makers series shines a light on them – from our well-trained, caring drivers to the community members who organise transport for local groups.
Ealing driver John O’Rourke describes a trip to Hyde Park with a group of residents from Southall’s Martin House care home.
“As an Ealing Community Transport driver, I never know what each day is going to bring. I might be visiting a doctor’s surgery, picking someone up from Morrisons on our PlusBus door-to-door service, off to Kew Gardens on a group transport trip, or simply taking a bus for a wash! What I can be sure of is that most days are different.
“So it was all change again when I was asked to take residents from Martin House care home in Southall to Hyde Park for the afternoon. The group was booked on a tour of the park on electric buggies, courtesy of Liberty Drives, which provides free transport within Hyde Park for people with mobility difficulties. All of the electric buggies were accessible with ramps and clamps, which ensured the passengers could be taken safely around the park.
“Unexpectedly, I was also invited to join the tour. So once everyone was loaded onto the buggies, off we went! The whole trip lasted about an hour. I thought I knew Hyde Park well, but I got to see parts I’d never seen before, including the Italian gardens and the Rolls Royce ice cream van. The buggies felt quite fast at times, but we all hung on tight and enjoyed the ride.
“I didn’t know these buggies existed, but the service and care shown was excellent. A few people on my bus said they hadn’t been outside for a while but had really enjoyed the trip. They clearly had a great afternoon. I know these events take time and expense to organise, but the joy this one hour on an electric buggy gave to these people (including me!) was clear to see. In my opinion, it was priceless.”