Community transport works across the Christmas period, even on Christmas day, to provide those who would otherwise be alone with access to family, friendship, company and independence over the holidays. This December, we’re going to be sharing the stories of our members who go above and beyond at Christmas.
The following is a letter from Emma to Shencare Community Transport about the help they gave her family at Christmas.
It was November 2016, Christmas was approaching, the tree was up, gifts wrapped, cards in the post. Christmas has always been one of my favourite times of the year but around seven years ago all that changed.
In 2009 my mother, Lorraine, became very ill. From her emergency admittance to hospital back in 2009 she has endured many painful operations, had a leg amputated, been diagnosed with progressive MS, seen her sight deteriorate, had lengthy stays in two hospitals, one rehabilitation hospital and finally (after a lengthy funding battle) settled in a Nursing Home, ten miles away, where she will stay indefinitely. All this and she is only 64 years old. She has three children and three grandchildren.
Although her nursing home give exemplary care it isn’t ‘home’. Throughout the years our main goal as a family has been to get Mom well enough to come home for Christmas. Last year it was looking like this could finally be possible.
Our main obstacle to this was transport. As Mom cannot transfer from a wheelchair she needs to be transported in an adapted vehicle. Being Christmas day the option of ‘Ring and Ride’ wasn’t available to us. We have used taxis in the past to do short journeys but every one we’ve used hasn’t been adapted properly, have been overpriced and after one particularly harrowing journey where the taxi door flew open on a duel carriageway (after not being closed properly) are ultimately unsafe.
I had noticed Shencare buses driving around my local area of Longbridge and decided to give them a call to see if they could offer any advice of who to contact about disability community transport over the Christmas period. When I rang Shencare with my predicament, the manager was more than helpful. He went above and beyond and to my complete shock and delight, arranged for a volunteer driver to pick Mom up from her Nursing home on Christmas day and take her back in the evening to her home. I was astounded that a not for profit organisation would go to these lengths to help a family in need.
The manager and the volunteer driver even came to my home prior to Christmas day to talk about needs/risk assessments. When Christmas day arrived we all had a wonderful time. Mom was transported in a safe and dignified manner and it really was a turning point in Mom’s rehabilitation. It meant so much to Mom and the family and it wouldn’t have been possible without the kindness and facilities that Shencare provide.
This service is so important to our local community. It gave us the opportunity to spend Christmas together as a family for the first time in years. They gave us that ‘normal’ that others take for granted.
Long may they continue!