'We might be stuck at home without more volunteer drivers'

Help needed for people with sight and hearing loss who rely on lifeline service.

A charity described as a lifeline for people with sight and hearing loss fears those who rely on the service could be left housebound.

North-East Sensory Services (NESS) in Aberdeen is pleading for volunteer drivers to take people from their homes to the centre.

Many of their older users live alone and say it’s their only chance to get out of the house.

One of them, Anne, celebrated her birthday at the centre on Tuesday.

She said: “There’s nowhere else to go. Otherwise, I’d just be at home because my family don’t live in Aberdeen.”

Volunteer driver Jenny Coleman, who got involved because her husband struggles with sight loss, has been helping out every week for ten years.

She said: “It can just be a case of knocking on the door and walking with them to the car and getting them in, or you could have to physically help them.

“Now and again, they have to cancel these meetings because they don’t have enough drivers. That’s a shame because it can mean that people are stuck in their houses.”

Six new drivers are needed to service NESS, which also provides a gym and exercise classes.

Without the transport to get here, the charity fears people who rely on the service will become more isolated.

One lady at Tuesday’s session hadn’t left her house in a fortnight.

Sheila Ogden, volunteer coordinator at NESS, said: “I think it gives them an opportunity to meet old friends and make new friendships.

“It helps with their physical and mental health. It simply means they can get out and chat with people and interact with others.

“The majority of the people that come to our services live on their own and spend most of their time on their own.”

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