ELDERLY people in the Holme Valley don’t have to fork our for taxis to get to the doctor’s.

For the Holme Valley Transport Scheme was set up in Holmfirth in 2001 to provide transport for people who struggled to attend medical appointments.

And its members are now busy collecting Examiner Wish tokens.

The charity provides transport facilities for the Holme Valley region, helping people who need transport due to being elderly, disabled, poor or living in isolated areas.

The Holme Valley Transport Scheme, which runs from Honley Surgery in Marsh Gardens transports Holme Valley residents to three general practices in the region.

Helen Kitching from the scheme said: “We started the charity in 2001 because we found people were stuck in rural isolation and couldn’t get to routine hospital appointments.

“The scheme covers an area for three general practices in the Holme Valley region. When we are running at full capacity we can make up to 100 contacts in a week.

She said funding is a big problem, adding: “At the current funding level we have we can only run at around 40% meaning people are missing out on the service.”

The charity uses a minibus to transport its users around, driven by a paid driver who works four times a week.

Helen added: “We had to buy a new bus recently because the old one stopped working, but due to a lack of funding we couldn’t get the new bus we wanted so instead we had to buy one that is five years old.’’

She said that this is an issue because the new bus doesn’t provide disabled access for those in wheelchairs.

“The charity is limited by its bus,” she said. “Ideally we would get a new bus with wheelchair accessibility so that wheelchair users could use the service.’’

Anybody who is registered at the general practices can use the transport service, with the majority of the services users being the elderly.

Patients are usually advised about the scheme by their general practitioners.

If the scheme didn’t exist the patients would have to pay for taxis to the surgeries or even have to walk to appointments.

Most patients would simply miss appointments if the Holme Valley Transport Scheme didn’t run.

Helen added: “We could probably run the scheme at full capacity for £10,000 a year.

“This could be achieved if every patient donated just £1 a year to the service.”