Charity's royal commendation for Covid-19 help

Passenger Daphne Potter with a Felixstowe Area Community Transport Service (FACTS)  bus

Passenger Daphne Potter getting out of a Felixstowe Area Community Transport Service (FACTS) bus via the tail lift. - Credit: FACTS

A Felixstowe-based charity has received a special commendation from the Queen’s representative in the county for its work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lady Clare, Countess of Euston, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk

Lady Clare, Countess of Euston, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Felixstowe Area Community Transport Service (FACTS) was awarded a Certificate of Merit by Clare, Countess of Euston, the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, as a thank you for “providing support for those in need during the present crisis.”

The Countess said: “Thank you all. You are an outstanding example of all that is best in this county.”

Felixstowe Area Community Transport Service (FACTS) trustee Caroline Hazell with one of the charity's vehicles

Felixstowe Area Community Transport Service (FACTS) trustee and volunteer Caroline Hazell with one of the charity's vehicles, at the 2019 Felixstowe Carnival - Credit: FACTS

Manager David Ablitt said: “This is a tremendous honour for us, and a big thank you to all our volunteer drivers and helpers when we are proving vital community support.”

FACTS helps anyone of any age with a physical, cognitive or sensory impairment which limits or restricts use of public transport within the Felixstowe area.

Mr Ablitt said: "We operate a door-to-door service, whether it's transport to the shops, hairdressers, social clubs, day care centres or even an afternoon at the bingo

“During lockdown we were still here, delivering prescriptions and food parcels and still operating for medical appointments.“

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The service was set up by a volunteer committee in 1990, with a single borrowed ambulance.

It has grown to have a fleet of specially adapted minibuses suitable to carry people whatever their level of mobility.

Founder member Denis Versey  said: “We made our first run in February 1990 with that borrowed ambulance. Then with fundraising and grants we were able to buy our first Mercedes van and get is specially converted for ambulance use a year later.

“It is marvellous to see how it has grown and thrived.

"Even though I am 88 now, I have not had to use the service myself. It is vital for a lot of people.”

For more details, visit the website. If you are interested in volunteering, call 01394 282857.

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