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Making lives better
The Celebrating Age Awards, which will be held on Thursday 5 October at the Lakeside Spa Hotel, recognise outstanding individuals who have dedicated time and effort to making the Isle of Wight a better place to live, helped out in their community, or who have defied age as a barrier to overcome a physical challenge, or who have worked with younger people to create, accomplish or campaign.
This year, one of the Group's nominees, Malcolm Hood (left, with residents of Whitmore Court), has been shortlisted for the Age Friendly Impact award, which recognises an older person who is making a difference to other people's lives and who has impacted the Island in a positive way over the years. Malcolm volunteers his time as a driver for the Wroxall Minibus, a Wroxall-based charity that helps people get around the Island who don’t have other means of transport.
The minibus service is supported by local contributions (such as a recent fundraising sale at the community centre) and each passenger pays around £3. It helps transport local groups such as primary school children to swimming lessons, and local residents into Newport to do their shopping. The Group's sheltered housing schemes that use his services include Worsley Court, Byrnhill Grove, Knights, and Whitmore Court.
Karen Salter is the Group's Scheme Services Coordinator for Worsley Court, who nominated Malcolm for the award. She says:
By keeping transport costs low for those using the minibus, they’re able to access areas of the Island that would be impossible by public transport. Recently, some of our residents had lunch at Culver Haven and enjoyed the wonderful views; they couldn’t have done this without the minibus.
Malcolm is very community-minded and has devoted a large part of his retirement to the minibus. He is highly regarded by customers and colleagues across our sheltered housing schemes; other schemes would like to use the service, but there aren’t enough hours in the week!
December is very busy for him as he drives groups to their Christmas meals, during which he always stays with them. This can mean multiple dinners in one week, a bit like the Vicar of Dibley Christmas dinner episode. On Sunday afternoons, he takes a group of Wroxall residents on a bit of a mystery tour and he is probably the island’s expert on the best cream teas!
The residents enjoy the planning and anticipation of their trips out. Public transport can be sporadic on the island so this service allows residents to access places that are off direct bus routes in a safe and supported way at an affordable cost.
One thing that has remained with me is that some residents who have passed away had wonderful memories of enjoyable days out, which Malcolm helped with, which enriched their later years.
Malcolm is very attentive to his passengers’ needs and never makes them feel they are a nuisance. He is very knowledgeable about the Island and our residents genuinely enjoy his company. I feel he deserves some recognition of his tireless contribution.
Hosted by Age UK Isle of Wight, the Celebrating Age Festival promotes the richness and diversity of the Isle of Wight’s communities, and offers events and entertainment throughout the week for people of all ages. The week is aimed to coincide with International Day for Older Persons. If you’re on the Isle of Wight, find out what’s happening around the Island and how you can take part.
Find out more about sheltered housing at Southern Housing Group.
For more about this story, please contact:
Southern Housing Group
0207 553 6841