Almost everyone in North Yorkshire has had to adapt in some way during the pandemic – including the wonderful community support organisations across the county.
From befriending to delivering shopping and prescriptions, people in North Yorkshire have pulled together to support their neighbours.
Bedale Community Minibus is no exception. Under normal circumstances, the minibus team organises trips out for those in the Bedale area. But during the pandemic the service has picked up delivering prescriptions to those in the community who are shielding but need to get medication.
Malcolm Bloor, a member of the organisation, said: “Our little organisation is really unique – we are independent and entirely free of charge. We have no paid staff, we entirely run on volunteers. That is 17 drivers, five office staff and six trustees.
“We were originally given a minibus for use in Bedale, which we used to arrange day trips and take people out. From 2014, we have been a completely independent charity and we’ve grown year on year, adding another minibus and we have extra support from the community. So that was our way of giving back, organising trips for the community.”
He said a pharmacy in Bedale had provided a home delivery service for a number of years but became overwhelmed with requests during the pandemic.
A local volunteer group helped at first, but Bedale Community Minibus was approached by the County Council to see if they could pick up the service.
Malcolm said: “We agreed to provide the service one day per week for 16 weeks. We go to the chemist, the driver shows their ID and they get a box of medication and then drive round delivering it to people in the community.
“We make sure someone at the house, either the person themselves or a carer, takes the medication from us, so it’s delivered and we can report back any problems to the pharmacy.”
They received a grant of £1,000 to start the community pharmacy and raised £1,000 of their own funds to make sure they were covered.
They started the deliveries in the middle of November and will continue with them for 16 weeks.
Gary Fielding, Corporate Director for Strategic Resources, said: “It’s incredible to see how community organisations have changed and adapted to meet the needs of their communities.
“Help and support is always there if it’s needed, in a range of different ways.
“I want to thank community organisations like Bedale Community Minibus for their flexibility in serving their community.”
Marie-Ann Jackson, Head of Stronger Communities, said: “This is yet another example of just how resourceful and adaptable our local charities are in the county.
“North Yorkshire is incredibly diverse: different places have differing needs and also differing community assets.
“We know our local groups are best placed to understand what is needed in their communities and this is a great example of how a much-loved community service is being put to best use during these unprecedented times to serve its local residents.”