Freemasons in Essex have made a £15,000 donation to the Castle Point Social Car Scheme, which provides transport options for the elderly and disabled in the borough
The scheme, which launched in 1997, has a fleet of six vehicles – three 3 mini-buses and three disability cars – driven by three employed drivers and 27 volunteers, along with many more volunteers to help the passengers.
The Car Scheme offers transport and trips for the elderly and disabled in Castle Point, for a small membership fee.
More than 1,000 residents are currently able to book car journeys at a reduce cost, as well as places on minibuses for day trips around Essex, hospital visits or even holidays, and allow scheme members to visit beauty spots, shopping centres and garden centres, etc.
This is a service the residents of Castle say is 'invaluable' and, apart from the small annual membership fee and reduced mileage cost, the Car Scheme is financed by fund-raising and donations.
The scheme needs around £140,000 a year to provide around 6,500 journeys.
Chairman Alan Beale said: 'Now the pandemic and restrictions are over, I get a lot of members saying they just want to get out, and visit places. This makes this service even more important for the members’ quality of life and mental health.'
Chris Hicks, the Provincial Charity Steward for Essex Freemasons, said: 'This is a good example of Freemasons supporting the community in Essex, particularly the vulnerable.'
The donation comes from the more than £1 million raised each year by Essex Freemasons through the Masonic Charitable Foundation.