Teries’ help sought to drive home £20,000 minibus appeal

Teviot Wheels voluntary driver Ian Lees gears up for another raft of bookings in Hawick and the surrounding area
Teviot Wheels voluntary driver Ian Lees gears up for another raft of bookings in Hawick and the surrounding area

Teries are being asked to throw their weight behind a fund-raising appeal for a community project vehicle which is in huge demand in Hawick.

The Teviot Wheels service, organised by region-wide community development company, The Bridge, which supports the voluntary sector, has gone from strength to strength since basing one of its three vehicles in Hawick.

And with local organisations and individuals with mobility problems regularly booking the Hawick minibus – often up to three times a day – it is hoped townsfolk will support a bid for £20,000 to buy a new minibus for the Roxburghshire area.

John Chick, development worker for Teviot Wheels, told the Hawick News: “Our vehicle in Hawick provides a vital service. It just keeps getting booked, and it was one of the best things we did was getting one for the town.”

This week alone Mr Chick says the Hawick vehicle, which is garaged at Sainsbury’s, and seats five passengers and two wheelchairs, is booked out seven times in just four days. This includes bookings from Chest, Heart and Stroke, Wilton Primary School and a club from the Katharine Elliot Centre, as well as transporting an elderly lady to an art class, and another with health problems to swimming in Galashiels.

The service is also used for hospital visits, shopping trips and visits to family and friends, and is available to any non-profit making community or voluntary group which is registered with The Bridge.

And with the need for Teviot Wheels having doubled every year since 2009, the organisation is aiming to replace a three wheelchair-access vehicle for hire in Hawick, Jedburgh and Kelso.

Although the appeal has already received a £5,000 boost from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, and Teviot Wheels is applying for other grants, members of the public willing to get behind the campaign would be welcomed.

Mr Chick commented: “We are off to a good start but if anyone from the Hawick community would like to take part in fund-raising we would be thrilled. It is wonderful that our vehicle is getting so well used in Hawick and people have taken to it. It has more than filled the need and we hope we can raise the money to continue to improve Teviot Wheels.”

The Bridge also runs Tweed Wheels in the Tweeddale area. For more information call 01835 863554.