A little help from TRIP goes a long way

PUBLISHED: 09:33 13 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:47 15 July 2019

TRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6056. Picture: Terry Ife

TRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6056. Picture: Terry Ife

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Jim Rider is a volunteer driver with TRIP Community Transport. He outlined to Resident what is involved with his duties

TRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6054. Picture: Terry IfeTRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6054. Picture: Terry Ife

Pop into the TRIP office in New Street, Honiton, on any weekday and you will find members of our team gently teasing out the information they need from a probably deaf and slightly confused elderly lady.

This is sensitive work and requires compassion and understanding.

In our busy, pressurised world patience is certainly a virtue

Jenny, Sandra, Julie and Mollie are in the top league and use their skills to good effect, taking a good, clear booking is where the TRIP Voluntary car system kicks off.

TRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6052. Picture: Terry IfeTRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6052. Picture: Terry Ife

Two days later, I pick up the client from her home in Honiton - she is going to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

As usual, it's a door to door return service and includes a three-hour wait for me, the driver.

The cost to the client is just £22, where as a taxi may cost £60 plus! I later get my mileage allowance only - that's where the voluntary bit comes in.

'What would we do without our TRIP trips', says Mrs A as she steps on to the four inch riser I helpfully place by the passenger door.

TRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6048. Picture: Terry IfeTRIP driver Jim Rider. Ref edr 23 19TI 6048. Picture: Terry Ife

This makes it easier for her to clamber into my Ford Kuga, which is not a low car.

Most clients don't like low cars. 'Well you're a nimble one', I tell her to help brighten her day.

She smiles, 'Am I really?'

Having established what I hope is a friendly and cheerful relationship, off we set for the half hour ride.

I bring her home later and she tells me that she has enjoyed her trip and had plenty of time to get to her clinic.

Personally I'm privileged to think that being part of someone else's happy day - even though she only went to hospital, I am aware I also might have been the only person she may have spoken to that day.

This work is full of interest, happiness and sometimes it brings a tear to my eye.

Some say, 'I don't want to be in this club'.

'What club is that?'

'The old club.'

'But you are doing fine - you're a tough one.'

A little help where it's needed is so, so appreciated.

That's what TRIP is all about - but it's not just for the elderly.

TRIP is the Honiton-based charity dedicated to relieving isolation and loneliness in rural and urban areas of East Devon through the provision of affordable and accessible transport, car transport to healthcare facilities, befriending support, aids and equipment for daily living and other services to enable people to lead more active and healthier lives.

Our services cover more than 30 parishes and serves an area covering Lyme Regis to Cranbrook and Sidmouth into the Blackdown Hills.

As well as the highly regarded Voluntary Car Service, TRIP also provides 'Ring and Ride' buses, disabled access vehicles and disability aids, including wheelchair and scooter hire, sales and servicing.

We also have TRIP Befriending Service, providing companionship and support for isolated and lonely people.

TRIP works with family, friends, healthcare professionals and social care workers to establish contact with those who are isolated and would like company.

Funding is always being 'pinched', and fundraising is ongoing.

Currently, TRIP is looking to replace one of their vehicles and hoping to raise £35,000!

Upcoming events include a Honiton Charter Day (July 20) and a Christmas fair (Mackarness Hall, November 9, 9am to noon).

Enquiries for volunteer drivers and befrienders are always welcome, and needed to enable TRIP to continue to provide their services.

You can check out our website and come along to our up-coming events or just pop into our office and speak to the team.

Visit www.tripcta.org

To read more features from East Devon Resident, click here.

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