Portishead Porters celebrates 25 years of taking patients to hospital

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 26 March 2018

North Somerset Cllr David Pasley, Jon Allan secretary, Sue Furguson, Ray Shields treasurer, John Myers vice chairman, Vera Sanders recruitment, and Portishead Town Council chairman Lesley Cottrell.

North Somerset Cllr David Pasley, Jon Allan secretary, Sue Furguson, Ray Shields treasurer, John Myers vice chairman, Vera Sanders recruitment, and Portishead Town Council chairman Lesley Cottrell.

Archant

A volunteer group which has provided people across North Somerset with transport to and from hospital has celebrated its silver jubilee.

Portishead Porters has ferried patients to Harbourside Family Practice, in Haven View, and beyond over the past 25 years, making more than 40,000 journeys.

The car share group was set up in 1993 for patients of Portishead Health Centre, in Victoria Square, who needed to get to appointments but had no means of transportation.

Changes in the area, such as the town’s expansion and demand not meeting supply of public transport, led to the Porters’ service becoming more sought after.

The group now operates in a 15-mile area around Bristol, with more than 40 drivers on its books.

Some of the guests at the Portishead Porters Silver Jubilee party.Some of the guests at the Portishead Porters Silver Jubilee party.

The group’s founder, Ray Shields, said: “The closure of Ham Green Hospital in the early 1990s meant people were obliged to travel further to hospitals, such as Southmead and Frenchay.

“Public transport links to these hospitals has always been very difficult as they generally require patients having to travel into Bristol, which is a tricky task.

“Ambulance transport can turn an outpatient’s appointment into a whole day excursion and recent changes have limited the use of such facilities even further.”

Increases in fuel costs together with parking problems at most of the hospitals has also encouraged more people to use the Porters.

Some of the original Portishead Porters who founded the group in 1993.Some of the original Portishead Porters who founded the group in 1993.

In 2003, the group was awarded an inscribed certificate from the High Sheriff of Somerset in recognition of the services carried out by members.

Some drivers double up as co-ordinators, liaising with health centres and patients to deal with requests and appointments.

The Porters held a party to celebrate their 25th year of operations, and Ray said the evening was a success.

Speaking to the Times, he said: “It was a special night.

Portishead Porters anniversary cake.Portishead Porters anniversary cake.

“Thanks must be given to the drivers and co-ordinators, whose loyalty and hours of volunteering have made the system run smoothly.

“I would also like to thank the management and staff at the two health centres in Portishead for their good relations and co-operation with us, which has made our jobs much easier.

“We shall carry on for as long as we are needed, so who knows, we might be around for another 25 years.”

Other News Stories

37 minutes ago

‘Antisocial’ drivers have been caught reaching speeds of more than 70mph in Nailsea town centre.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

The NHS will enhance its services in the South West as it gears-up for the most ‘challenging’ winter in years.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

Nailsea Lions has donated £280 to the Bristol Heart Institute to thank staff for the ‘excellent’ treatment given to one of their members.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:57

A Barrow Gurney animal sanctuary, faced with closure, is appealing for funds.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:43

Scores of children spent hours enjoying football coaching during half-term.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:54

Police in Nailsea are urging the community to help run sessions for youngsters on Friday nights to prevent antisocial behaviour.

Read more
Wed, 18:56

Hard-working sailing volunteers from Clevedon and Yatton will have a royal appointment this week to recognise decades of service.

Read more
Wed, 16:08

North Somerset Council’s carer’s assessments and support strategies have been criticised after a father was left to care for his child for 20 weeks without adequate information.

Read more
Wed, 14:00

Crafts and songs were on the timetable at a Nailsea church.

Read more
Wed, 12:00

A project which helps people who have dementia in Nailsea has received a cash boost.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the North Somerset Times e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Useful Links

Reader Travel

Clevedon Tide report

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

North Somerset Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications