A charity which helps sick and needy youngsters attend hospital appointments is desperately appealing for drivers from the borough.
Transport for Sick Children (TfSC) is urgently looking for volunteers from Wigan and Leigh to join its fleet of motorists providing the free car journeys to families struggling with transport.
The charity takes children with complex illnesses whose parents or guardians are on low incomes or benefits to hospital appointments in Manchester and Liverpool.
However, numbers of people from the borough giving up a few hours of their time have fallen to concerningly low levels and TfSC is now appealing for new recruits.
A charity spokesman said: “Our volunteers make attending hospital a more stress-free experience for families who are already under great duress and who are coping with sick children.
“This is a great opportunity for local people to remain active and connected within their communities.
“We actively engage with the volunteers through regular contact, informative newsletters, annual general meetings, a Christmas lunch get-together and driver representation on the board of trustees.
“Many of our volunteer drivers meet up at the hospitals and come to know each other well. We have many long-staying volunteers who really enjoy working with the local children and their families.”
Volunteers give their time and use of their cars freely and receive money for all their fuel costs. Anyone wanting to drive for TfSC will need a caring attitude, a clean driving licence, a reliable vehicle and a telephone. They will also have to pass a safeguarding Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
One parent from the borough who has previously spoken about her experiences of the charity is Leigh mum Colette Duddle, whose young son Colin has been ferried to numerous appointments across the North West by TfSC.
Colin, who was born prematurely, suffers from a club foot and hearing problems and has been treated at both the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Liverpool’s Alder Hey facility.
Colette said: “I honestly don’t know how I would get Colin to hospital without TfSC. I don’t know my way around Manchester at all and the children’s hospital is quite far out.
“The drivers are brilliant, they speak to you nicely, they wait for you and sometimes you ring them when you’re allowed to leave hospital and they turn up.
“They really should get more help and funding through the Lottery or something like that because they really are great.”
Potential volunteers should ring Beverley Hoyle on 0161 443 4122. To find out more about the charity, visit www.transportforsickchildren.org