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Step up to help out the town

Ross-on-Wye Journal: 1st July 2009

A strong foundation and a job well done is how the Ross Shop Mobility steering group describes the efforts of the woman employed to launch and develop the scheme in the town. Efforts that may be wasted unless more people come forward to offer their services free of charge to keep the scheme open. Sadly this is indicative of the society we live in, one of fatcat salaries, obscene pension and bonus plans, multi-million pound investments on the one hand, and hard-working men and women in small towns scrambling around to raise awareness and funding for community projects that make a big difference to daily lives on the other. We are relatively lucky in Ross-on-Wye that we have a lot of volunteers, who work tirelessly on the wide-ranging projects co-ordinated by Dennis and the team at EnviroAbility, Janet and the team at Age Concern and so on.

But the pool of people is not bottomless, and we should not assume that there will always be someone else to do the job. As Dennis says: "Many people think someone else will do it, which is not always the case." The cease in funding for the employment of Victoria Hacker is no shock. In fact, she and her colleagues have understood the time frame in which they needed to give the project momentum before she had to move on to pastures new, since its inception. But you know what they say? Time flies!

With a bit of luck and a great deal of personal commitment from the volunteer network in our market town, Shop Mobility will continue to operate with the same high level of service it currently has. Thanks to Victoria's efforts, the Ross scheme is now in the National Shop Mobility Handbook. And she says that she receives more calls from people based elsewhere in the country checking to see if they can book a scooter before arranging a visit to, and booking accommodation in Ross than those living closer to home. So, if anything, this is an absolute necessity for the tourist status of the town. Whether we are taking care of our fellow townsfolk and those in the rural parishes or welcoming newcomers to our small corner of the world, Ross Shop Mobility is a vital service. So think on... someone else won't always step forward but you can!