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Village charity set up in lockdown expands work

Posted onPosted on 17th Aug

A charity set up in Blidworth to help the vulnerable and isolated get to much-needed GP and hospital appointments during the coronavirus pandemic has proved so popular and successful that it has expanded its work and is extending its name.

Blidworth On The Move will now be known as Blidworth On The Move – Support Network.

The charity’s distinctive, specially-adapted blue vehicle has taken service users as far as Worksop, Newark Hospital and the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, as well as to more local venues.

The voluntary transport scheme, set up around three months ago, has proved a great success across the area at a time when NHS transport and other voluntary schemes had to close due to lack of funding and support.

Blidworth On The Move is the designated voluntary transport scheme for the western area of the district by Newark and Sherwood District Council for the western area of the district.

One of the team behind the charity, Gilly Hagen, said: “When our trustees and volunteers got together to get the project up and running, we pooled resources, skills and links within our community.

“A good network of willing people is the key to making this scheme work. That is one of the reasons we are now to be known as Blidworth On The Move — Support Network.

“The other reason is that almost without exception we have found that passengers often require much more than transport support at this very difficult time.

“Isolation and fear of leaving their homes is one thing. So, as we move into September, we hope to use the vehicle to get people out of the house, safely.

“Many of us have been affected mentally over the last few months and I, for one, feared leaving my home to go to the doctors for the first time, even though I had a mask on plus a shield and gloves. I actually felt like someone going to a crime scene on CSI.

“We all miss other people’s company and this is why we have now linked people using the vehicle with volunteers from our local Patient Participation Group.

“This group is made up of retired or current professionals generally with a healthcare or social care background.

“Until the Covid-19 outbreak a support desk at the local surgery in Blidworth gave patients and the general public healthcare information and advice monthly.

“Now our scheme is giving people a ‘buddy’, who provides that important listening ear, support with long-term conditions and where necessary helping people come to terms with life-threatening conditions.

“At a time when key agencies could only give telephone contact this is essential. Some patients needed food aid and particular shopping collecting along with prescriptions as they were alone and isolated.

“The tasks we have undertaken have been quite varied and, as we move forward, we see our work growing and unlikely to ease off at all.”

NHS Social Prescribing Link Workers are working with Blidworth On The Move — Support Network to build its partners and associates. Key agencies involved with the charity include the Abbey Medical Group GP Practice Patient

Participation Group (PPG) and Food Aid – Blidworth. Associated organisations include My Sight Notts, Age UK, MIND, Sherwood Forest Community Church, Blidworth Parish Council, Newark and Sherwood CVS, Newark and Sherwood District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust and the Coal Industries Social Welfare Organisation.

Gilly addded: “Like the distance covered by our blue vehicle, it seems the list keeps growing with greater networking links developing each day.
“Our charity wants to support people to take that step to come out of lockdown and build an improved life.

“After shielding, and, as we move forward from September, we hope to be able to get people to get out.

“At the Sherwood Forest Community Church, the intention is to restart the weekly lunch and armchair exercise sessions for the over-50s.

“So, watch this space for things like this as we start again. What each of you must do is ensure that we follow PPE guidelines, wear a mask and keep washing our hands”
More volunteer drivers and someone to support the bookings team are needed by the charity.

Gilly said: “Just a few hours a week will help. If you have ideas for helping people get out of their homes, let us know.”

If you can help, contact Gilly Hagen on 078169 33429 or at or call Mark Himsworth on 01623 797733 or email