Russell a driving force for the elderly

Helping hand: Russell Moore helps the elderly in Knox, including Valerie Winslade and Mario Mealing, by taking them to medical appointments. Picture: Ted KloszynskiWHEN Russell Moore found himself unemployed in his mid-50s, he decided not to waste away the days doing nothing.
Nanjing Night Net

Instead, he kept busy by driving elderly Knox residents to social events and hospital appointments across the region as a volunteer for not-for-profit organisation Bridges.

Mr Moore used his own car before it “got a bit long in the tooth”, and he became a Bridges bus driver.

Bridges has recently widened the eligibility requirements to use its transport service and now urgently needs more volunteer bus drivers.

Previously, only pensioners who were permanently unable to drive could use the service, but now pensioners who require transport on a temporary basis or who only drive in their local area can also use it.

Bridges spokeswoman Alex Coubek said the significant change would assist more pensioners to attend medical appointments and reduce the risk of isolation.

Mr Moore said he took a 94-year-old woman to the Rowville Community Centre every Friday to play bingo. “It gives them a bit of enjoyment. They’re not just sitting there watching television – they’re getting out of the house.”

He has been volunteering with the organisation for almost five years and puts on the Bridges bus driver hat every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

While the pensioners are enjoying themselves at their various social activities, Mr Moore either has a coffee with them or does some shopping.

“It’s good just to give something back to the community. They’re nice people and most of them are still very sharp,” he said.

But there’s also a benefit for Mr Moore in the long term. “I’ll probably end up on the bus myself one day. Hopefully, they’ll give me a free ride when I’m not able to drive.”

Anyone wanting to volunteer can call Bridges on 9729 9499.