I'm sure all of you know at least one person who hurt themselves this winter and found themselves scrambling to get around. Last year WCSS had 22 requests for long distance drives through our volunteer based 'Helping Hand' Program. Helping Hand is a program that can help in more ways than just driving- food prep, light housework, new parent support, senior support are some examples. For the this blog post, I'm going to focus on the driving. Getting to a doctor/specialist appointment in Vancouver can be a big problem. Even if you own your own car, many procedures require you to leave with a friend. For many Whistlerites asking a friend to take a day off work and drive to the city and back feels like an imposition. For some, there isn't a friend who even has a car and/or the means to skip a day of work. Thankfully, due to the ongoing funding source of the Re Use It and Re Build It Centres WCSS has some money available to cover costs for volunteer driver's gas. And even more thankfully, Whistler has some dedicated volunteers who will drive people to these essential appointments (big shout out to Carleen Leidal and David Oakes). Unfortunately our dollars at WCSS can only stretch so far and we can't offer this service to residents of neighbouring communities. And truly, as Whistler grows with more permanent residents we're uncertain as to how sustainable the program is long term.So, what to do? Well, over the past year this issue has been brought up in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor and representatives from health, social services, nonprofits, First Nations, and community groups have had multiple meetings to discuss our perceived needs as service providers on behalf of our clients. The trouble is, while we all agree that there is a need, we are not sure how big it is and if given certain options, would people in need of health transportation even want the style we've discussed? Realizing before we can really come up with solutions, we need to research the facts. In comes, Vancity with some funding for a researcher. Margaret Forbes in consultation with the Sea-to-Sky Health Transportation group designed an online survey to find out what is going on for people.
It is our hope that the online survey will be distributed widely to people who may be impacted by this issue. Please share this survey with your networks, family and friends as the more people who fill it out, the more comprehensive our information will be. This survey will remain active until May 31, 2013. The online survey can be accessed at:
If you'd rather to a pen & paper survey, Margaret can get one to you if you email her at email@example.com or call 604-902-3647.
If this blog has inspired you to become a volunteer driver with the WCSS Helping Hand Program, please contact Melissa Deller- firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-902-0865. WCSS is always recruiting for extra drivers and the commitment is really based on your schedule.