Hastings has a big HEART – new free transport service for those struggling to make jab appointment

A new scheme offering free transport for people struggling to get to vaccination centres was launched on Monday by Hastings HEART, the town’s Covid-19 community support organisation.

HEART, short for the Hastings Emergency Action Resilience Team, sprang into action last year recruiting hundreds of volunteers to help people throughout the pandemic. Since then, it has undertaken thousands of practical tasks for people in the community, from collecting shopping, delivering food parcels to families in need, or ferrying vital medications to people in lockdown.

Now, its teams of drivers – who have themselves been vaccinated – are offering to help people struggling to get their jab centre under their own steam or are concerned about travelling by public transport. And, through support from the National Lottery, they’re offering the service for free.

Alastair Fairley, joint co-ordinator for HEART says: “We understand many people may not have their own transport to get to their allotted vaccination centre and may be concerned about asking friends or using public transport. Our Road Runners service is there to help.

“Clearly, the best way for people to get to a centre is under their own steam. But if you don’t have a car and have spent months shielding for your health, you have had few options – until now.”

HEART volunteer drivers have all been vaccinated and are trained in cleaning their vehicles to make them as safe as possible for people to travel in. While the organisation does not ask for money for the service it does request people respect it as a service for those who need it. It is only available for those with a booked vaccination appointment. Drivers will also wait nearby to then take people home once they’ve had their jab.

To request vaccination transport people can either visit www.hastingsheart.com and fill in a simple help request form or call 01424 235290 and request a call-back. Messages are picked up throughout the day and HEART aims to respond to everyone requesting help within 24hrs.

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