Leeds transport charity’s new minibus to help drive down loneliness

Brian Eaton, from Euro Motive, hands over the keys to Alec Shelbrooke MP, Coun Karen Bruce and For Disability volunteers. Picture by Simon Hulme.
Brian Eaton, from Euro Motive, hands over the keys to Alec Shelbrooke MP, Coun Karen Bruce and For Disability volunteers. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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A community charity aiming to tackle isolation among elderly and disabled people is hoping to do more for the vulnerable after unveiling a new £68,000 minibus.

For Disability Mobility (FDM) aims to give more vulnerable people in Leeds a route out of loneliness with the 16-seater wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Paid for through the Government’s Community Transport Minibus Fund, the minibus means FDM now has two vehicles to offer subsidised door-to-door transport to the 64 groups of people from care facilities and communities that it serves.

The Rothwell-based charity, which also runs a social club offering low cost trips to attractions like West Yorkshire Playhouse, was handed the keys by Euro Motive earlier this week.

Ron Frost, FDM founder, said: “Isolation and loneliness lead to depression and dementia, and it’s all putting cost on the NHS. If you can get people back out into the community and socialising, their quality of life improves and that’s what we’re all about.”

The new minibus has increased the charity’s capacity but FDM also needs to increase its list of volunteer drivers. Applicants must have had their licence for two years or more and can be given full training through the charity.

Mr Frost added: “We desperately need more drivers – that’s very difficult to achieve. All the time we are looking for drivers, as that could help us increase the service.”

The good news comes after the organisation warned that its future was in “limbo” amid council uncertainty over the future of its purpose-built home, Dolphin Manor care home, in Stone Brig Lane, Rothwell.

Leeds City Council has said it is actively looking for a “suitable site” for the charity in case the facility closes. No decision has yet been made over the future of Dolphin Manor.

For further information visit fdmbus.org.uk.

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