Volunteer Centre Sustains Services Throughout the Pandemic

Syston and District Volunteer Centre has continued to provide support services to the local community throughout the pandemic. Volunteers have responded to requests for help with shopping and prescription collection and, with the help of a growing band of volunteer drivers, has provided personal transport to enable those in need to keep hospital and doctors’ appointments.

Thanks to a grant from the National Lottery, the Centre has acquired a new wheelchair-adapted car. Quite naturally, under Covid-19 conditions, our team of volunteer drivers have been reluctant to use their own vehicles, as they would under normal circumstances. The two specially adapted cars now owned by the Centre have therefore enabled the transport needs of the local community to be met in a safe and secure manner.

In collaboration with the Syston Health Centre, volunteer drivers are currently fully engaged in transporting people to vaccination and testing centres.

Centre Manager, Andy Shelton and Transport Co-ordinator, Michael Court, have continued to work throughout, with other staff placed on furlough under Government regulations.

Sadly, the usual very popular weekly programme of trips and excursions, using the Centre’s small fleet of minibuses, has had to be suspended and will remain so for the foreseeable future. This situation is causing the Board of Trustees to consider selling one of the minibuses, possibly using the income to buy another car – possibly electric – to provide greater capacity to meet individual transport needs. A recently confirmed grant from the Horace Taylor Fund is also now available to finance an extension to our fleet of vehicles.

As previously reported, thanks to a grant from the Woolfson Foundation, the Centre offices on School Street have been completely re-modelled to make them much more visitor-friendly and to enable staff to work within current Covid restrictions.


Reviewing the operation of the Centre over the period since March 2020, Chairman of Trustees, Paul Lomas, says: “The Trustees and I take great pride in the fact that, with fantastic support and commitment from our small teams of staff and volunteers, the Centre has sustained an excellent record of providing vital service to everyone in need within our local communities of Syston and surrounding villages throughout the whole period of the pandemic to date.

“We have made progress in the recruitment of additional volunteer drivers; we have expanded and upgraded our small fleet of vehicles; we have been successful in raising money through grants to fund our development plans while protecting our limited cash reserves and have developed strongly supportive links with several ‘partner’ organisations to work to respond effectively to the challenges imposed by the pandemic.

“I am confident that we are very well-placed to meet any challenge presented in the short or longer term and have used the adverse conditions imposed by the pandemic to establish a very sound base for future development.”

Anyone seeking help with the problems presented by the pandemic – whatever the nature of those problems – should contact the Centre Manager, Andy Shelton tel: 0116 2607 888, email: admin@syston-vc.org

If we cannot offer direct assistance, we can point you in the right direction to receive the help and support that you need.

Similarly, if you would like to offer your services as a volunteer – whether as a driver or to offer some other skill or service – we would like to hear from you to discuss the possibilities of harnessing your talents.