Tameside taxi drivers deliver vital deliveries

KIND-HEARTED cabbies have joined the effort to make sure no-one is left unable to get essential food and medicines by offering to deliver them during the Covid-19 crisis.

Hyde Accessible Taxis has stepped up to give its services to make sure people who need supplies can get them.

They have also done their bit by giving free journeys to NHS staff while lockdown rules are in place and coronavirus is still prevalent.

And owner Shaun Delaney says it was the least they could do after Tameside Council helped them by keeping the contract to take children to special schools in the area open.

He said: “They said the deal we have with them will be kept until April 30, which was fantastic news as it means jobs will be sustained for that bit longer.

“The taxi industry is really suffering at the moment – they didn’t have to help us or do what they’ve done to sustain it in the area.

“What they have done has meant I’ve not had to get rid of any staff, so I’m more than happy to get involved with the scheme and so are my staff.”

Tameside Council is working with Action Together, NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, the hospital and other partners to provide the emergency support to those affected by the pandemic.

And several taxi companies in the borough have joined the effort – with Hyde accessible Taxis also providing free transport for NHS workers.

Shaun added: “It’s for those in need and in isolation.

“I’ve had one lady who despite being in relatively good health is in the high risk bracket and doesn’t want to go out of her house any more.

“So I told her that we can help her get what she needs and more and more people are using the service.

“We’ve also made a decision that for any NHS staff who are going to Tameside Hospital, we’re not going to charge anything whatsoever.

“We have six or seven nurses who use us but we’re not taking a penny. My drivers have not put one of those jobs on their log sheets.”

Hyde Accessible Taxis’ core business is still operating as many of the special schools in Tameside remain open but Shaun has implemented new rules.

He said: “It’s tough with the new social distancing advice but I wasn’t massively comfortable sending my drivers out as if it was normal – I wasn’t going to put my lads at risk.

“We’re still doing our school work but only with one wheelchair passenger and one helper maximum per bus, along with the driver.”

Hyde Accessible Taxis’ role- and that of other firms in the area – has been hugely appreciated by Tameside Council.

Executive Leader, Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “We know there are residents who are struggling, who may not have friends or family close by to help them, and we want them to know there is support available.

“Our emergency support offer is threefold – delivery of essential items such as food, delivery of medications and general wellbeing support in what will be a very lonely and difficult time for some people.

“We will be supporting residents who have been identified nationally as ‘extremely vulnerable’ until the government’s national scheme to support them is fully up and running.

“However we also wanted to boost that offer locally to meet the needs of all our vulnerable residents – so this includes people who may not fall into the government’s ‘extremely vulnerable’ definition but who may still need to self-isolate but don’t have any support network around them.

“This is no easy task and certainly one that wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and support of our workforces and volunteers.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with the level of generosity so far – from both the amount of time people are dedicating to this operation and the number of donations of goods we have received direct from our local suppliers and outlets. I can’t thank everyone involved enough.”

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