Jacob Rees-Mogg: Trust helps ease the isolation many elderly people can feel
Last week the Midsomer Norton and Radstock Community Service Vehicle Trust invited me to address its annual meeting. It was held in the Methodist Centre, which is an excellent and welcoming venue, and about 20 people were present.
The trust was set up by the local Rotary and had its first vehicle in 1967. Then it was a converted ambulance with two benches set facing each other. It is now on to its fifth minibus which cost £34,518 in 2006 against £1,325 for the 1967 model. This is not all caused by inflation, it is partly better specifications. Soon the trust will need to buy its sixth version.
It is a remarkable community activity, started by local businessmen but continued independently by concerned citizens. Its aim is to help the old and the disabled to have some means of getting out and about for important social events and visits to local sites. The drivers are volunteers and work to a carefully managed rota.
Jeremy Hunt spoke out about the isolation of old age and fear of loneliness. Too many people, once they have retired, can lack company, especially as modern families are so disparate.
When volunteers can help this adds to the enjoyment of life for the elderly but it is also rewarding for those who do the work. It is all based on generous individual citizens who give time and money to make our society happier.
I hope that it continues for many years and that those who help out have the thanks of society.