Money needed for car scheme

Peter Bryan and Sylvia Bryan pictured at Rushden Serve which is running a volunteer car programme.
Peter Bryan and Sylvia Bryan pictured at Rushden Serve which is running a volunteer car programme.

A charity is trying to raise £25,000 for a community car scheme which is a lifeline for more than 1,000 people.

Rushden-based charity Serve’s community car scheme has about 50 volunteer drivers and carries out about 20,000 journeys a year for its 1,600 members.

The charity receives some grants towards it but has to raise about £25,000 a year to keep the scheme going.

Serve chief executive Barry Graves said: “Members pay £10 to join and then pay the drivers a tariff which goes towards covering their petrol costs but the scheme can only run because Serve subsidises it. Even with the funding we receive we lose money on it every year.”

The scheme is open to people over 60 and disabled people and is mainly used to take people to medical appointments and for hospital visiting. The drivers will also wait up to two hours for people and then take them home.

Sylvia Bryan, 66, of Podington, who suffers from heart failure, kidney failure and diabetes, uses the scheme to get to Serve’s day centre in Rushden and for medical appointments. Her heart condition makes it very difficult for her to walk even short distances.

She said: “It’s invaluable. If you order a taxi it stops outside your home but these drivers come to your door and help you to the car. When you get to hospital they find a wheelchair and take you to the right department. It’s not just the scheme that’s important, it’s the service you get with it.”

Rushden Town Council has just awarded the charity £3,000 which will be spent on the scheme. Council leader Cllr Sarah Peacock said: “Serve does so much work in the community but it needs support from the public.”

If you can help Serve raise money for the scheme, or could become a volunteer driver, call 01933 315555 and ask for Coral Sawford.