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Felixstowe: Volunteers needed to join precious service

PUBLISHED: 14:30 13 January 2013

Some of the team for FACTS with their new minibus - Caroline Hazell, Doris and Harry Riley and Emma Nicholls

Some of the team for FACTS with their new minibus - Caroline Hazell, Doris and Harry Riley and Emma Nicholls

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A COMMUNITY transport group is seeking volunteer drivers to help with its increasing workload.

The charity Felixstowe Area Community Transport Scheme (FACTS) has lost four drivers in the past year due to age and ill health.

However, since changes to NHS transport policies were implemented, FACTS – which drastically improves the lives of hundreds of people – has seen the call on its services grow faster than ever with even more people in the Felixstowe, Trimleys, Kirton and Falkenham areas turning to it for help.

Around 12 new volunteers are needed to keep the organisation’s dial-a-ride minibus service and community car schemes running and to meet the growing demands.

FACTS manager Bob Nice said: “The service really does play an important part in the local community and we really need people to get behind us and help us out.

“Without the services we provide many people would be left isolated and have absolutely no access to transport.

“Without transport people will struggle to get to medical appointments, go shopping, pay bills or visit loved ones, which could have a very negative impact on their lives.

“The problem for us is two-fold, firstly we have lost four minibus drivers and need to replace them to ensure our dial-a-ride service can run at an adequate level.

“Secondly, since changes in NHS transport policies, we have been inundated with people needing transport to medical appointments.

“We try never to turn anyone away but we are now struggling to keep up with the extra demand and this is why we need more volunteers, to drive our vehicles and to become passenger assistants, as a matter of urgency.

“If people can just spare a few hours a week it would be very helpful.”

■ FACTS can be contacted on 01394 282857 or by e-mail at facts4bus2car@btconnect

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