TRIP eyes £18,000 pot of charity cash to launch new befriending hubs in rural parishes

PUBLISHED: 11:07 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:42 15 April 2019

TRIP in Honiton. ehr 36-16TI 7219. Picture: Terry Ife

TRIP in Honiton. ehr 36-16TI 7219. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

An £18,000 pot of lottery cash will help a Honiton charity launch befriending 'micro-hubs' in rural villages - but it has a wait to see if its bid is successful.

Community transport charity TRIP is looking to tap into existing community groups in Feniton and Payhembury to offer its befriending service to those who are rurally isolated.

If it is successful in securing the windfall, the charity aims to roll out the befriending hubs from June this year.

Sharon Thorne, deputy manager for TRIP, said: “This will be an intergenerational scheme, it is for people who are isolated through rurality.

“We want to go out to these villages once a week and link in with community groups already and use them as mini-hubs.”

Mrs Thorne said even if the charity does not get the funding, it will do a 'mini' version of the proposed scheme, albeit rolling it out later than June.

She added: “We want to break down loneliness, rural and age-related isolation and encourage individuals to become more active in their community, by matching befriender to befriendee.

“We will physically transport befrienders to rural areas of need, initially to establish a guided friendship with people in their own homes, with the aim of encouraging them to engage with community activities.

“This will help people who are isolated because they do not have access to public transport, but still need to attend important medical appointments.

“Often, if there is a car in the family, it is used by a person going to work.

“We want to support the people who can't get out and about, to help them come into town and do their shopping.

“This will be an inclusive service applicable to all age ranges, baby upwards.”

TRIP now faces a five-week wait to see if it has been successful in its funding bid.

The charity is also gearing up to launch a £35,000 fundraising drive to replace one of its older buses in its fleet.

The charity wants to replace one of its Renault Crafters with a more state-of-the-art vehicle which will accommodate more electric scooters and wheelchairs.

TRIP will be launching its fundraising campaign for the bus at a summer craft fair, on June 1, held at the Mackarness Hall from 9am to 1pm.

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