03:00PM, Friday 12 March 2021
Cash from the Louis Baylis Trust (LBT) has enabled a community transport charity to become more hygienic as it emerges into a post-virus world.
People to Places operates minibuses across the Royal Borough which help to transport people into town for shopping and essentials.
It also runs a shopmobility service in both Maidenhead and Windsor which allows people to hire a wheelchair or scooter to help them navigate the high streets.
The service has seen demand drop during the height of the pandemic but has kept going over the last year, assisting people with hospital appointments and prescription pick-ups. The charity has also been running shopping errands and vaccination trips for members.
CEO of People to Places, Peter Haley, said that a strict cleanliness regime has been kept up to ensure minibuses are clean and members can ride on them safely.
A £1,000 boost from the trust has gone towards installing screens between drivers and passengers, PPE, and an air filter system within the vehicle which helps dispel virus particles.
The charity now hopes to make these features commonplace on minibuses as it looks to a more hygienic future.
“There is clearly going to be COVID around in the background for a long time, so it was a short-term emergency, but it will bring long-term benefits,” Peter said. “As we get vehicles in the future, we will just buy them with the filters and the screens and ensure we carry on that good practice. Whatever we have done now for COVID, will hopefully protect people from those other illnesses.”
Peter added that the virus has affected the charity on a personal level, with members lost to the disease.
“It is desperately sad,” he said. “But this is one of those things that we are going to come out of with a much better sense of how to look after people.”
The charity is now hoping its members using the minibus and shopmobility service will continue to grow after a ‘slight uplift’ recently, as more people get vaccinated.
“People have got to make their own decisions about when they want to come out, and we will be there supporting them when they do,” he added.