New mini-bus keeps elderly in touch with community

24th November 2010

The Colchester Catalyst Charity recently contributed £15,000 towards the funding of a new mini-bus for Family Support Clacton to keep elderly people in touch with their peers.

The ultimate goal of the organisation is to help older people to maintain their independence and live fuller lives. It encourages them to manage by themselves so they can happily remain in their own homes for longer.

Family Support Clacton currently transports 250 elderly people per week from their homes to one of its two day centres in the area. The elderly are usually taken on regular shopping trips and pub lunches.

However, the organisation needed a replacement vehicle this year so that it could continue to help as many people as people with its valuable service. The new mini-bus cost £29,000 and the Colchester Catalyst was asked to provide £15,000 (which was agreed in May 2010) to be combined with other funds raised by Family Support Clacton.

Faye Cooper, the head of operations for Family Support Clacton, headed the funding hunt for the new mini-bus. She says the money provided by the Colchester Catalyst Charity and other funding bodies has been an absolute life-saver.

“We were running scared until the money from Catalyst came in. We have two centres based in Clacton and we used to run five buses to bring in elderly people to the centres, but we went down to three buses this year. However, the Catalyst has changed all that by getting us back up to four mini-buses.

“ The mini-bus makes a huge difference to the lives of people who would otherwise be encased in their homes all day. It’s great providing them with health at home but it doesn’t mean much if they don’t have contact with anybody from 9am until 9pm. The mini-bus allows them to interact with people and improve the quality of their lives tremendously.”

At the centres, the staff at Family Support Clacton provide the elderly people with breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also offer regular entertainment, such as quizzes.

The Jaywick Lane Well Being Centre, based at the Coastal Academy Centre, has a sensory garden, a fish tank and budgies, to keep their visitors amused.

“We even help them to make their own Christmas cards,” adds Cooper. “Plus we get them involved with the bingo and provide them with access to a library.”

For more information about Family Support Clacton, call: 01255 432132.

Photo Caption:

Stephanie Grant, the Administrator for Colchester Catalyst Charity, with David Coeshall from Age UK (donated £5,000) and Irene Loud, the chairperson for Family Support Clacton, at the mini-bus launch that took place outside Jaywick Lane Well Being Centre on October 22nd.