TEIGNBRIDGE-based KingsCare League of Friends has boosted their fleet of vehicles to support its volunteer car services, following a grant awarded by the Exeter Chiefs Foundation, Newton Abbot Hospital League of Friends and a generous donation from someone they have previously supported.

Since 1997, the charity has been running a volunteer car service, not only taking people to doctor and hospital appointments, but also to social activities, memory café sessions, craft and game mornings, lunch clubs, and swimming groups.

A spokesperson said: ‘KingsCare’s aim is to improve the quality of life of those in need within its community, which encompasses Kingsteignton to Newton Abbot and the surrounding villages.

‘The need for a new, second hand, vehicle came when it became clear the organisation needed an extra vehicle due to an annual 150 per cent increase in demand, especially from clients with reduced mobility.’

Fundraising manager Sarah Lakey said: ‘One thing that we hate doing is saying ‘no’ to a client in a wheelchair. This grant will provide the additional funds required to purchase a vehicle that is fit for purpose and to lessen the times we have to say “no”.

‘This vehicle will enable us to work with and support more members of our community and help them address social isolation and loneliness. We know, as we move into winter, more people will face food and fuel poverty and, as a result, will struggle with their mental health.

‘Knowing you can get to a medical appointment is one way that will help to alleviate stress and being able to go out for the day or to a planned social activity within a supportive group will help with mental health.’

Exeter Chiefs Foundation trustee Marc Astley said: ‘KingsCare’s application made it very clear how important it is for their clients to be able to leave their home, so they do not feel forgotten and invisible to the world outside their front door.

‘With this extra vehicle added to their fleet, KingsCare will be able to achieve more to benefit the elderly population it serves.’

Ruth Robinson from the Newton Abbot Hospital League of Friends went on to say: ‘We often a see KingsCare bringing people to the hospital we are very pleased to be working with them. One of the key benefits to the transport service they provide is helping to reduce nerves, stress and anxiety often associated with a hospital appointment.’

With the addition to their fleet, KingCare needs more volunteers to continue to support the local community with their transport needs. Whether this is for doctor appointments to social minibus day trips, and everything in-between, they always have a need for drivers. If you can spare one hour a week please get in touch, volunteering is one of the more rewarding things you will ever do.’

Pictured from left: Lynne Leaman Newton Abbot Hospital League of Friends Secretary; Sarah Lakey, KingsCare fundraising manager; Maggie Bonnell, KingsCare charity manager; Ruth Robinson, Newton Abbot Hospital League of Friends chair and treasurer; Marc Astley, Exeter Chiefs trustee.