Annual Day Trip 2019
On Wednesday 3rd July 2019 ten drivers from local taxi operator Corker Cars set off at 8am to pick up 55 elderly and disabled residents which included residents from local care homes such as Grace Muriel, Orchard House, Tara’s Retreat, Lyndon House, Strathmore Lodge and Parkside View to treat them to a day trip to the beach at Southend On Sea. With their carers on board they first made their way to the Holiday Inn Express located by M25 junction at London Colney for a full breakfast served by the staff at the hotel. After having breakfast, the residents along with staff from Corker Cars and local Councillor Mandy McNeil officially launched the trip with a short ribbon cutting ceremony in the car park. Shortly after with residents and wheelchairs all strapped back into the taxis, the drivers set off towards Southend on Sea.
Once arriving at Southend, drivers disembarked all the passengers who were then free to wonder along the beachfront with their carers. After a short while of enjoying the gloriously warm weather with a gentle cool sea breeze, all the residents and carers made their way to Pebbles Restaurant for lunch.
Located right on the beach front, the ever so friendly staff prepared a meal of freshly made fish and chips for the travellers and after which homemade cakes, generously donated by a local resident from St. Albans, were handed out by staff from Corker Cars to all the people sitting on the balcony and also to the helpful the staff at the restaurant.
While eating ice cream the residents spent some time either conversing with other residents and carers on the trip or just gazing at the view of the sea. Shortly after the residents were ready to head home and with everyone on board drivers made their way back to St. Albans, disembarking everyone at their homes.
Residents and carers all said they had an extremely good time. Siouxsie Liddle from Grace Muriel said “the team at Corker were amazing and we felt very well looked after as the day was planned out for us. It was such a lovely sunny day and seeing the community come together to give the elderly residents a day at the seaside, brought back many memories for all. Edgar remembered cycling down from St. Albans with his brother and hearing that war had been declared on the wireless, he remembers that was their last seaside family holiday. So to go down on this outing meant so much to him. It was the perfect day, and we didn’t want to leave. I want to say thank you to all those who made it possible and a special thanks to our driver, we hope you enjoyed your day as much as we did.”
Victoria Ashby, Activities Manager at Orchard House said: “The residents and staff from the Orchard had a fantastic day at Southend. We can’t thank Corker Cars enough for the lovely day, our residents are still talking about it!! Well done Corker Cars!”
Stella from Strathmore Lodge commented: “Our two residents and my colleague all had a thoroughly good time. The residents thought it was a very generous, kind and worthy thing to do. All the taxi drivers were wonderful and lovely people and we’re looking forward to next year!”
The initial idea for the day trip came about back in April after an incident that had occurred, which left management and staff at Corker Cars wanting to help the local community as much as they could. The incident which kickstarted this initiative occurred on a Sunday evening at around 10pm in which a regular customer of Corker Cars called the office from his home requesting assistance after suffering a fall from the top of the stairs. Luckily the evening manager of Corker Cars was still in the office when the call initially came in and immediately rushed off to the elderly gentleman’s house. Upon arriving at the residence, the elderly gentleman managed, with great difficulty, to open the front door and let the Nav (manager from Corker Cars) in. After assisting the elderly gentleman who was in a very bad way and suffering from extreme bruising as a result of the fall, Nav called for assistance from the emergency services but was informed that it will be well over 3 hours for any assistance. Nav then decided to take the gentleman to A&E himself and with the assistance of the gentleman’s neighbour they got him in the vehicle and set off for the hospital. For the next few days Nav popped over to Watford General Hospital see the gentleman and thought he was on the mend but unfortunately due to the severity of the injuries he passed away a few days later. This incident had such a profound effect on the management at Corker Cars and it was what the gentleman said at the time of his call that he “only had our number in his mobile” which gave extra importance to wanting to do something to help. Over the next few weeks & months staff at Corker Cars researched into how they could help. After intensive searching, ideas such as an emergency call line for the elderly and other such initiatives were found to be already in place. So, the idea of a day trip for lonely, elderly and disabled residents of St. Albans was put to action.
Staff from Corker Cars then approached local churches, halls, care/resident homes and through social media advertised the trip to the beach for residents. Once numbers of participants gradually increased, the idea of offering a free meal at the beach became something the staff at Corker Cars wanted to offer as well and it was only through partnering with local solicitors Debenhams Ottaway (main sponsor), local restaurant Chez Mumtaj and with generous donations from local residents that offering the free meal including an ice cream suddenly become a real. Susan Glenholme, Managing Partner of Debenhams Ottaway Solicitors commented “We are thrilled to be the main sponsors for this year’s Annual Day Trip to Southend for the elderly and disabled, very kindly organised by Corker Cars. As a local firm, we strongly believe in supporting our local community – this is a great initiative and one that we are very proud to be able to support!”
This was Corker Cars first day trip for the elderly, disabled and carers and although there were a few hick ups along the way, overall the programme was a success leaving everyone involved with great memories. Corker Cars are already looking into next year’s trip and hope to continue it in the future as well. Max, Andy, Nav (directors) and all the staff at Corker Cars would like to thank all those who took part and especially to the sponsors who made the trip extra special.