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Community Blog

How we’re keeping the wheels on the bus moving

10 October 2019

The majority of people in our community take for granted the ability to get up and go when- and wherever they like around our island.

For some others, it can be more challenging to have the same level of independence and as a result it can sometimes feel quitelonely and isolating. The Ron Short Centre in Guernsey offers a lifeline to individuals in such circumstances.

For more than 40 years, the Ron Short Centre has been providing support and services to islanders who need additional assistance due to mobility issues or other disabilities. They not only provide a location for respite, but a place where all are welcome to meet and socialise. 

Around five years ago, the centre saw an opportunity to reach out and support more islanders.

Two of the centre’s employees, Tony Corbin and Richard Salisbury, had an idea to start a regular transport service to and from Guernsey’s Grand Marchés. They had the seven-seater van and they had plenty of interest from islanders in need of the service. But the centre needed financial support.

Your Society taking the service in a new direction

The Ron Short centre team approached us to ask for sponsorship.

We were happy to assist and soon the centre was able to launch a weekly bus service. The service runs during the winter months and transports the elderly from the residential care home at Rosaire to Grand Marché St Martin and Grand Marché St Sampson twice a week, free of charge.

With the sponsorship from your Co-op, the Ron Short Centre are able to ensure that the van is regularly maintained and has enough fuel and resources to keep it on the road.

Regular users of the service see this facility as more than just a shopping trip. For them, it’s a chance to see familiar faces and to chat and be around people. Above all, it is the feeling of confidence and self-esteem they get as a result of being able to shop independently.

Co-op’s support through every twist and turn 

During 2016, the shopper bus service found itself faced with various challenges. The vehicle that the centre had originally used was starting to become unsuitable for some passengers needing wheelchair access. The centre also needed an additional qualified driver, but more tragically, one of the centre’s long-serving colleagues and co-founders of the shopper bus service, Richard, sadly passed away.

The service found itself at a longer-than-anticipated pit-stop whilst it struggled to get back on the road. But your Society still continued to provide support to this invaluable community service. When a new bus was found, we helped to add the final touches to the vehicle – including a dedication printed on the new van in remembrance of Richard.

A lasting legacy 

Since it began, the shopper bus service has grown from strength to strength. So much so that the centre is now considering providing extra trips in order to meet demand.

 

The ever-increasing popularity for the shopper bus proves how valuable a service it is to islanders and the real difference it is making to the community.

‘We are proud of our link with the Co-op’, explains centre manager Dr Rob Harnish. ‘They really understand the importance of ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.  Our joint Shopping Bus Service really helps to make a difference in the lives of local people.  It just shows what we can do when we work together for the good all.’

That is why we are more than proud to support the Ron Short shopper bus service.

Are you interested, or know somebody that would benefit from the Ron Short Shopper Bus Service? Find out when it is running.