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CORONAVIRUS NEWS: Volunteer drivers will continue to serve the community

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VOLUNTARY Action Stratford on Avon District (VASA) is to continue its community transport operations for the time being.

Its volunteer drivers take passengers to hospital, GP and other medical appointments as well as social inclusion journeys throughout the Stratford district, Warwick, Leamington Spa and Kenilworth.

Trevor Russel, chair of VASA’s trustees, said: “VASA is the largest community transport provider in the county. Our drivers make around 1400 journeys a month.

“Demand is falling as hospitals and doctors’ surgeries cancel non-urgent appointments. But many people do still need to travel.

“Our position basically is that while there is a need for our service and while there are drivers willing to help we will try to keep going, even though our finances will take a hit.

“Obviously we are keeping the situation under continuous review. And it is vital to ensure that VASA survives so that we can resume business as usual when this crisis eventually ends. But we know only too well that our community transport service is a lifeline to hundreds of people.

“We have closed our office and our small staff and the dedicated team of volunteers who take requests for transport are working from home where they will be able to handle calls as usual on the usual VASA number - 01789 262889.”

However, VASA has been forced to close its range of community services - memory clubs, carers café, lunch clubs.

Said Trevor: “We are looking at how we can redeploy staff and volunteers who run these services to support the local community at this time - for example delivering prescriptions, collecting shopping and making welfare telephone calls to our clients.”

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