Issue 147    Sept 1st   to December 1st 2020

‘Handybus Update

I’m writing this piece on 2 August.  What a period it has been so far this year and goodness knows what things will be like when you read this in September.

Once lockdown commenced the Handybus went out of passenger service.  We knew that lockdown would be lengthy and that the Handybus could not be utilised for anything like normal service.  Through national links we were able to offer the Handybus to the Trussell Trust who run West Berkshire Foodbank.  The Foodbank picked up our offer and we have been able to help them twice a week with deliveries for vulnerable families across an area extending from Hungerford and Lambourn to the outskirts of Reading.  Those members of our driving team, who were still able to drive under the lockdown, have done a terrific job in undertaking this work especially since the loads became quite large!  So large in fact that we have had to use CHAIN’s wheelchair vehicle from time to time as additional backup. 

We also have used the CHAIN services to support Geordie and the West Berkshire Hub for one day a week with distribution from the Spotlight Foodbank that has been also operating in the area.

It has been satisfying to know that the CHAIN vehicles were being used to help in some way during this difficult period.

At the time of writing we are planning the re-introduction of some of the Handybus services.  These will be delivered in a very different way.  The bus will operate with a maximum of 6 passengers and will only be used initially for essential services.  We don’t expect some of our services, such as the hydrotherapy run and other social trips, to recommence for some time.  We will be ensuring that passengers are transported in line with national guidelines and following all required health and safety procedures. 

So, from August 5 we have re-introduced our Wednesday Handybus run to Tesco.  Since numbers that can be carried are very limited, we will endeavour to do two runs on Wednesday. This is so that the process is undertaken as gently and carefully as possible.  Not that we weren’t before!  We will use these early experiences to learn the best ways to protect our passengers whilst the pandemic persists. 

My especial thanks to all the CHAIN Handybus team for their support.  They have been real heroes!

It will be interesting to look back in three months’ time to see how things have progressed – or not!

Ted Angell  CHAIN Handybus Co-ordinator’ 01488 682610  077998 86597

Mike Slatter, our long serving voluntary Handybus mechanic is retiring and we are looking for his replacement.  Mike undertakes a variety of weekly checks on the bus to ensure it is in a good roadworthy condition.  He also ensures the bus is clean and well presented.  The role does not include the servicing of the vehicle but does require the holder to have a D1 category on their driving licence. 

For further details, contact

Ted Angell  Handybus Co-ordinator’ 01488 682610  077998 86597

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