© Collingbourne Ducis Parish Council 2020
Collingbournes & Everleigh Link Scheme’s Report
Mr G Hooper provided a report a digest of which follows: Wiltshire's system of Good Neighbour Schemes has been recognised as being the best of its type in the country, and during the last year Link drivers across Wiltshire carried out almost 53,000 tasks, travelling 941,000 miles and spending more than 136,000 hours. Representatives from Community First have been advising authorities from other counties on how to set up and run similar schemes, which are even more necessary in these days of austerity, particularly in rural areas where there are fewer facilities. In our Link Scheme last year we carried out 367 tasks, travelling 8,244 miles and spent 1164 hours helping our neighbours get to the appointments they needed or wanted to attend. We have a total of 28 active drivers - 14 of them covering the two Collingbournes, and we are solvent thanks to the kind donations from some of our Parish Councils, and the donations made by our clients. I would like particularly to thank the Ducis and Kingston Parish Councils for the generous grants they made to us last year. We are also able to claim Gift Aid on some of the donations, and this is helping to replace the 5 pence per mile concessionary fares payment that was stopped by Wiltshire Council last year. So we are financially stable and able to cover our expenses and the mileage costs of our drivers. I would like to thank the kind residents of these two Parishes who give their time to be Link drivers. It may only be once or twice a month that their services are required, but our committee and particularly our wonderful Co-ordinator, Elizabeth, are very grateful for their help in taking people where they need to go. To have reliable and kind people like this to offer their time to help their neighbours is a true blessing for our villages, and one for which we should all be grateful. While we are on the subject of people, it may be that there are other Collingbourne residents who could give a little time to Link, and we have a vacancy on our management committee which we would like to fill with a person from here. If anyone is interested in helping to keep our Link Scheme moving, and can spend a couple of hours four times a year to help guide the ship, please come and join us. Looking at things from another angle, our village populations are always changing, and there may be new people who have moved in locally, who could benefit from Link's services, but who do not know we are here. If you know of anyone who might be helped by Link, please do let them know. We are here to help - not only for visits to hospital or the doctor's surgery, but for shopping, visiting a friend or maybe just having someone to talk to. Our phone number 850807 is available for all these things and more. So if you could help a neighbour by giving them the Link number, we will almost always be able to improve their lives in some small way. Once again, thank you to the people of Collingbourne Ducis for your kind support of our Link Scheme. We look forward to continuing to provide a good service through the coming year. Mr Hopper answered questions from those present after which the Chairman thanked him for his report.