Health service to add extra shuttle

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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Reverend Jenny Chalmers, project leader St John health shuttle. PHOTO/FILE
Reverend Jenny Chalmers, project leader St John health shuttle. PHOTO/FILE

The St John health shuttle will soon be able to help even more people-- with plans afoot to increase the service's fleet.

High demand for the shuttle, which offers a door-to-door service for patients from around Wairarapa to key health organisations, has led organisers to begin fundraising for a second vehicle.

Last year the service, which usually operates five days a week, carried more than 1500 passengers.

St John Wairarapa Health Shuttle project leader Jenny Chalmers said she was surprised by how quickly the service gained popularity.

"We are well on the way for that need to have a second vehicle because we've carried more than 1500 people since we set up at the beginning of last year. So we've been carrying Martinborough, Featherston, Carterton and Greytown people to Masterton and quite often within Greytown."

On a busy day, the shuttle could make as many as 28 trips around Wairarapa, Rev Chalmers said.

Organisers hoped to purchase an 11-seater van, which would be garaged in Greytown where there was high demand for transport to and from the medical centre.

While elderly people who had lost their licence were big users of the service, people with leg and hip injuries that prevented them from driving also benefited.

Rev Chalmers said she hoped the community would continue to support the service, which operates on a donation basis.

"We've been really, really blown away by the support that we've had. I truly don't think that I've ever struck such whole-hearted support for anything else that I've done and really tapped into such an apparent need.

"Sometimes we are just really taken aback by how grateful people are and how generous their donations are, and we've had terrific support from places like Trust House and Masterton Medical."

It was hoped the new van would be purchased within the next two or three months.

To make a donation phone 0800 589 630.

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