Clevedon Care celebrates 25 years

A CHERISHED Clevedon charity which has helped thousands of people reach medical appointments worry-free is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month.

Clevedon Care drivers have made more than 40,000 trips transporting people to hospital appointments as far afield as Weston, Bristol and Taunton, giving their customers peace of mind at what could be a worrying time.

The group started off in 1985 providing help to vulnerable members of the community in many ways, such as carrying out DIY, shopping, helping young mothers and visiting the sick.

Set up by representatives of the town’s Lions and Rotary clubs as well as the older people’s charity, WRVS, it was later taken over by Churches Together in Clevedon and became a registered charity in 1987.

Funding was provided by churches before a bequest from a client meant the group could support itself.

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In 1999, Clevedon Care moved to its current office in St Johns Hall in Hillside Road and began to concentrate on providing transport to and from medical appointments.

Since then, it has continued to thrive, with some 50 volunteer drivers now operating about 60-70 journeys per week, supported by about 40 others manning the office phones.

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In 2011, the group completed 3,300 requests and its efforts were rewarded when Clevedon Care was given a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Clevedon Care chairman Ella Howcroft said: “A lot of people find our service essential.

“We have some wonderful volunteers that go that extra mile.

“To get to Frenchay Hospital from Clevedon is extremely difficult, meaning buses in and out of Bristol. It takes a lot of time and it also costs quite a bit.

“The people we take are so appreciative and it is a reward for our drivers.”

For each journey, clients are simply asked to give a donation to cover their driver’s costs. The cost of running the office and phone line is met through donations to the charity.

To celebrate the group’s 25th anniversary, a special thanksgiving service will be held at the Baptist church in Queens Square at 3pm on October 28. Former Bishop of Bristol and Clevedon Care driver, Barry Rogerson, will lead the service.

* Anyone wishing to make a donation to Clevedon Care or anyone hoping to volunteer can call the secretary Jennifer Lewis on 01275 878637. Anyone wishing to book a Clevedon Care driver should call 01275 343677 between 9.30am to noon and 2.15-4.30pm Mondays to Fridays.

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