COVID has prevented many families from coming together for the festivities in 2020, but hopefully that is all about to change this year, thanks to the bosses of a taxi company, which offers free transportation to retirees during the day. Christmas, as Hilary Scott discovered …
“I can’t stand the thought of an elderly person being home alone on Christmas Day. It’s heartbreaking, ”said Keith Gibb of Barc Travel.
That’s why the taxi company, which has served the community of Peeblesshire for 14 years, is making sure retirees are reunited with their families this Christmas.
The gesture is extended to retirees isolated within a six mile radius of Peebles and Innerleithen. However, Keith says if people lived a little further away, like Walkerburn or Broughton, he wouldn’t see them stranded.
When asked what prompted him to offer this kind gesture, Keith said, “I really believe in the importance of caring for and caring for the elderly. I was just sitting there thinking the other day about the number of families affected by COVID. The loneliness that must have lasted for the past two years for the elderly is a horrible thought.
The taxi owner hopes that this service will give families the chance to rejoice in this festive period and to enjoy a drink.
“There is always this question within families of who will drink and who will not, as they may have to pick up and drop off elderly family members. But, they won’t need to have this conversation this year. For us as a company, it is easy for us to offer this service. Make no mistake, we fought against COVID, but thanks to the support of the Scottish Borders Council we got away with it and are now able to offer something back to the community, ”Keith said.
The Barc taxi service will operate as usual, but a 16-seater minibus, which can accommodate a wheelchair, is reserved for the elderly and vulnerable.
Keith explained, “We will have a driver, Edward Conway, on duty. He will be paid £ 25 per hour to operate this service from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Of course, if it has to be extended a little later, so be it.
“There are no restrictions. If people have a walking aid or a wheelchair, that’s okay. They can even take a chaperone or a caregiver; there are plenty of seats to accommodate them.
The company announced the early Christmas offer on social media. “The response has been incredible on the Innerleithen community site, and a lot of people have shared it. I was shocked at the number of people who responded.
People can pre-book the service by calling Barc Travel on 01721 721212 and telling the company where to pick up and drop off. The pandemic has created a silent epidemic of loneliness, and Keith and his team hope to change that this Christmas in the communities they serve.
Keith said, “It’s nice to know that by providing this free service we can reunite families. If there is anything I can do to make a difference for one person this Christmas, I’m happy.
And with a slight twist on the sentimental ending of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, to that I say … “God bless Barc, and everyone!”