Friday, July 18, 2008

Some days you may as well stay in bed

Some days I just don't understand. Some days you do the very best you can, but still it seems you're out of step. A week ago, Greg Clark MP and I met with the Chief Executive and General Manager of Arriva to discuss bus services in Sherwood. One of the biggest problems for many elderly residents is that, a few years ago the bus route changed, no longer stopping outside the Medical Centre, the Community Centre or the Chemists.

And so it was that yesterday I rushed from a meeting in Tonbridge to be at St Philip's Church in Sherwood for a meeting with residents of St Philip's Court, a warden-assisted residential block in Sandhurst Road. Around twenty five elderly and frail people waited to hear what I had to say.

"I've spoken to the Kent Karrier service" I said "and they'll run a mini bus service which will pick you up from your front door, take you to the Medical Centre, TN2 Centre and Chemists, then wait around and bring you back again". I waited expectantly for the "well done". Nothing.

"That's no good to us" said one lady. "Useless!" said another. One by one, the grand plan I had so carefully put in place was torn to shreds by the very people it was meant to help. I explained it again, but slower - you pay just £5 a year subscription, then the minibus will pick you up from your front door, take you to the shops, coffee with friends, or - in this case - the Medical Centre, leave you for a while then pick you up again.

"That's weird" said a tiny lady next to me. "What a weird idea! It'll never happen". My mouth went dry, my palms began to sweat. "Can I take it then that you don't want me to set this up for you?"

"NO!" said two ladies quite forcefully, and standing up, put on their coats and left. It was the final straw. "Give him a chance" said one chap, but it was no good. My best laid plan lay in tatters. You know, some days it all seems to come together, some days you may as well stay in bed...

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