top of page
  • Background (1)
  • Background
  • Слой 1

Providing continual support and assistance to our local community

You may be surprised to learn our expertise in transport logistics has benefited the health of individuals within our local community. But we are incredibly proud to have worked alongside the Voluntary Norfolk and Improving Lives teams to support the healthcare bus service, providing much-needed assistance to those living in hard-to-reach areas.

Providing support pre-pandemic via the SOS Bus

Our involvement with the local community began long before the pandemic hit our shores.

If you live in Norwich, you may have come across the SOS Bus, which offers a full paramedic and first aid service in the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights. The bus is operated by trained volunteers who can support anyone who feels their well-being is being threatened by illness or injury or are in a state of emotional distress. The purpose of the bus is to ensure individuals can get home safely and reduce any unnecessary A&E visits or ambulance callouts.

Since its launch in 2001, the SOS Bus has been managed by a team of trained volunteers through Voluntary Norfolk. These volunteers can work collaboratively with the police, the ambulance service and local pubs and clubs in the city to make Norwich a safer place for all.

However, driving a bus requires special training, and not every volunteer has felt comfortable driving a bus to and from its usual location at the bottom of Prince of Wales Road.

We teamed up with Voluntary Norfolk to overcome these difficulties. As well as providing advice and guidance, we used our expertise to offer driving assessments for volunteer drivers. This has given them the confidence they need to drive the vehicle and has played a big part in keeping the service running.

Using our expertise to help deliver the Covid-19 vaccine

Like many rural areas, there were enormous challenges in delivering the Covid-19 vaccine around Norfolk.

Alongside the SOS Bus, Voluntary Norfolk had access to a second bus, kitted out with medical equipment but unused. Improving Lives, the Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Care System were keen for this additional bus to transport and deliver the Covid-19 vaccine to anyone homeless, Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET) or directly to those with substance abuse issues.

These hard-to-reach groups needed different methods of communication and a way of direct contact that would help to encourage them to accept the vaccine.

Due to our previous involvement with Voluntary Norfolk, and the services provided through the SOS Bus, we understood the challenges involved in using the bus to deliver the vaccine around Norfolk. Not only did we have the chance to advise on the logistical issues, but our senior consultant and business owner, Carl Crysell, took over the responsibility of driving the bus itself.

As the success of the bus continued, the service was scheduled to be extended into other areas of healthcare, far beyond the initial scope of the vaccinations.

“If people can’t get to healthcare providers, for whatever reason, then we need to take the care to them. This bus is an asset to a community that needs reaching but it is also creating a wider community, providing care where it’s needed the most.”

Alan Hopley, Chief Executive Officer at Voluntary Norfolk

Focusing on a new service across Norfolk and Waveney

The potential of the healthcare bus continues to be a huge priority for the Improving Lives team.

The development of a new service has allowed the bus to move into new areas across Norfolk and Waveney, offering support on healthcare issues such as vaccinations, diabetes advice and general health support.

As transport consultants, we were well placed to deliver the project. We are heavily involved in all areas of logistics, including driving the healthcare bus, planning the route, undertaking maintenance, and cleaning and conducting ongoing risk assessments. With our expertise in compliance matters as well as policies and procedures, we’ve worked closely with Improving Lives to offer a hugely beneficial service that has a lasting impact on the health of local people.

The service was initially offered three days a week, with all driving undertaken by Carl himself, but it has now expanded to a five-day-a-week offering, with retired bus driver and trainer John Hare now taking the wheel.

“The Wellness on Wheels mobile bus has been brilliant during the difficult Covid period. It has enabled us to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t have had the support they needed. I’m thrilled to see it being further used now to extend the reach of our services.”

Patricia Hewitt, Chair of NHS Norfolk & Waveney.

The service will continue to help people throughout Norfolk and Waveney access much-needed health support and will play a key role in delivering the autumn Covid vaccination boosters.

Speaking of the healthcare bus project, Carl Crysell says:

“It has been humbling to be a small part of this project and to witness the outreach work in situ. From the hustle and bustle of the city centre on a Saturday night to an old convent car park overlooking the nun’s final resting place, we cover all sorts of logistical challenges to protect those in the most vulnerable situations.

It has been a learning curve, but now we have the systems and procedures in place, with top-level support from within the NHS. I would love to see this roll out across East Anglia.”

We are extremely proud to be involved in supporting the healthcare needs of our local community, and we will continue to be involved with Volunteer Norfolk and Improving Lives.

Our consultancy services are available to help businesses solve any logistical headaches. We can advise on compliance matters, conduct risk assessments, or create a series of policies and procedures. To find out more, please contact us

32 views0 comments


bottom of page