Heathfield and District
Age Concern, Heathfield and District is a local, independent, registered charity (Charity Commission Number 205665). We have a Chairman and Executive Committee who meet regularly to ensure the efficient running of the service, with our minibus and hospital car services, as well as our Men’s Shed, run entirely by volunteers.
You can scroll down the page to read about the services we provide and find out how you can support us, either as a volunteer or by making a donation – or simply click on the list below to go straight to a specific section.
Our minibus service started in 1990 with the aim of taking older residents in and around Heathfield to collect their pensions and do their weekly shopping. We now have three specially modified buses to enable wheelchair access and a team of seventeen volunteer drivers and twelve escorts. We have a number of regular weekly bus routes and also receive requests for day trips and outings throughout the year; the service is now run jointly by Dawn Brock, Elizabeth Keating, Andy Shakeshaft and Denise Staley.
Over the past twelve months our 3 minibuses covered just over 12,500 miles and carried a total of 4,105 passengers.
Our minibus service offers transport to a number of local events such as the very popular lunches held at the Union Church in Heathfield and the Country Lunches at Punnets Town Village Hall. In addition, passengers are picked up and transported into Heathfield for weekly shopping trips every Thursday and to attend the Age We Care Day Centre. Each of our buses has been specially modified to enable easy access via a tail lift for passengers who have limited mobility or those confined to wheelchairs.
Our programme of outings has proved to be a great success, with many of our trips quickly becoming fully booked.
We update the programme of trips regularly throughout the year and details are included in our bi-monthly newsletter. We try to vary the venues and times to suit the weather and the time of year, with some of our more popular destinations, such as Hilliers at Stone Cross and the Beacon Centre at Eastbourne being repeated regularly.
All our trips include a stop for passengers to buy a much needed cup of tea (and cake!).
We offer groups, clubs and organisations who cater for the elderly, the opportunity to book our minibuses for day trips and outings.
Please contact us for availability and prices on 01435 866960.
Medical Car Service
The Medical Car Service has been running for many years since it became apparent that, in addition to the minibus service, there was a demand for individual transport to and from medical appointments. This service offers door to door transport for health-related appointments to such places as doctor’s surgeries, dentists, opticians and local hospitals.
Of an average 100 journeys per month, approximately 43% are local, while the remaining 57% take clients further afield, to a wide variety of medical appointments in hospitals across East and West Sussex and into Kent, Surrey and London. Our service is open to all over the age of 60, no matter the level of mobility. We can accommodate wheeled walkers and wheelchairs, providing that you can enter and exit the vehicle with minimum assistance.
Drivers, who are all volunteers, use their own private cars, and passengers are asked to pay a pre agreed nominal fee for their return journeys. Drivers mileage is covered and, in addition, drivers can claim back other out of pocket expenses such as drinks and something to eat for longer journeys.
The service is administrated by volunteers who take the daily calls, log them onto the electronic calendar system and allocate drivers from our team of volunteers for each job. The Team is led by Nicole Hudson and assisted by Julie Langdon and Elizabeth Keating.
If you need transport to a medical appointment, or know of someone else who does, please ring us on 01435 515090 for further information.
(Please note that we can only provide transport for pre-arranged medical appointments. If you have an emergency, you must dial 999).
Heathfield & District
This is our latest venture and is open to men over 60.
A Men’s Shed is like a large garden shed, but community based; it’s a place where men can converse, create, connect and drink tea! The UK now has 524 Men’s Sheds up and running across the country and we are one of an additional 137 in development and linked to the UK Men’s Shed Association.
Men can find it difficult to build social connections and rarely discuss or share personal issues; this friendly and welcoming environment encourages men to feel part of a ‘shedding community’ and can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
For those with crafting skills, equipment will be available to use, demonstrate and share those skills with other Shedders – but the most important requirement is a willingness to participate, to enjoy yourself and have fun.
Our newsletters contain all the information you need about the services we provide and who to contact for each one.
Copies of our bi-monthly newsletter can be found in a large variety of public buildings and shops around the town.
Click on the image to open or download a copy of our current newsletter or sign up to receive email copies of future editions.
We always welcome volunteers to help with our transport services. If you can spare a few hours of your time there are a number of ways to get involved:
Minibus Drivers: If you are over 25 years of age and have a valid driving licence you could volunteer to drive one of our three minibuses. We have a number of regular weekly routes together with requests for day trips and outings and are always keen to recruit reliable volunteers who would be willing to help take groups out. Full training on the use of disability equipment will be given. Please note, drivers must have a D1 category on their licence to be able to drive our minibuses,
Escorts: Our escorts are people who may not wish to drive but who are happy to go out on the minibuses and assist passengers climbing on and off the bus and walking clients to and from their front doors. They may also be asked to assist with passenger safety by fastening seatbelts, helping to operate the tail lift and securing wheelchair passengers on board the buses. Full training will be given.
Medical Car Service Drivers: Volunteers who use their own cars to take people to and from a variety of medical appointments, including visits to local hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, dentists, opticians etc.
Due to the nature of the clients we support, all our volunteering roles are subject to an enhanced DBS check, which we are happy to carry out and pay for. Various other document checks will be made to ensure drivers are adequately insured, driving well maintained vehicles and have valid licences,
Training for all roles will be given.
We are a ‘not for profit’, charitable organisation and, as such, rely totally on fundraising, donations and legacies to enable us to continue providing vital services to our local elderly residents.
If you feel you could help us financially in this way, please contact our Chairman, Julie Langdon (Tel 01435 866960), who will be happy to give you details on how to make a donation.