Bluebird Care helps stop isolation with Dial 2 Drive

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

DIAL 2 DRIVE, a volunteer community transport scheme based in Tunbridge Wells, has been awarded a £500 grant by leading homecare provider Bluebird Care Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

The charity will use the funds to recruit and train additional volunteer drivers in order to support increasing demand for its service from clients across West Kent.

Dial 2 Drive is a community transport scheme for people living in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and the surrounding area who are unable to access public transport due to old age, illness or disability.

Volunteer drivers use their own cars to take clients to medical and social appointments.

Fiona Watkins, Project Development Manager at Imago, the charity which runs the Dial 2 Drive scheme, said: ‘We are very grateful to Bluebird Care for its generous grant.

‘This will help us to recruit more drivers and deliver a fantastic service to even more people in the area.

‘We currently support more than 800 clients, enabling them to stay active and independent in their local community for as long as possible.’

She added: ‘The service ensures that those people who find it difficult to get out and about are not confined to their homes, and are able to enjoy a more independent lifestyle.

‘It also helps to support the local economy and saves the NHS money, as fewer appointments are missed or cancelled.’

Ninety-one year old Marie Crisp, who lives in Tonbridge, has been using the Dial 2 Drive service for several years.

She said: ‘Dial 2 Drive is an absolute godsend as my husband lives in Pilgrims View care home and without the service I would not be able to visit him very often.’

‘My regular driver, Mike Wood, is always very friendly, and the service is much safer than getting a taxi as the drivers are all DBS [-Disclosure and Barring Service] checked and trained in how to support older people.

‘Dial 2 Drive is a very affordable service that has given me back my independence.’

Bluebird Care Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells operates a Community Grant Scheme which supports local causes through the provision of a £500 grant to a different group four times a year.

Nathan Brown, Community Liaison Manager at Bluebird Care Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, commented: ‘As a home care company, we are all too aware of the importance that access to transport can play in helping older people to live a full, independent and active lifestyle.

‘By enabling older people to get out and about, the service is helping to alleviate loneliness and social isolation in the community.’

Applications are open for Bluebird Care’s next Community Grant award until Friday [May 18].

For more information about Bluebird Care Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, email Nathan Brown at:

PICTURE: STEERING COMMITTEE: (L-R) Nathan Brown of Bluebird Care, Dial 2 Drive customer Marie Crisp and volunteer driver Mike Wood

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