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All Aboard: A Year of Accessible Travel Robin Cattle, Trust Administrator, from The Jumbulance Trust tells us more

about the charity’s adventures this year which have taken place all over Europe, from Austria to France, to Blackpool to the Lake District.

It’s been a busy year for The Jumbulance Trust, the accessible travel charity that makes travel possible for those with disabilities, severe illnesses or significantly dependent individuals. The charity provides accessible and equipped coach vehicles, called Jumbulances, and drivers to groups from all over the UK.

The Jumbulance coaches feature comfortable stretcher trolley beds, a large accessible WC and washroom, a wheelchair friendly lift, medical equipment including a defibrillator and oxygen units, and other accessible features.

A maximum of 24 people can travel on a Jumbulance bus at one time, and groups are normally made up of ten less able people of any age, who are joined by volunteer carers, family members and medical professionals offering assistance.

This year, The Jumbulance Trust has assisted more than 270 people on holidays, short breaks and day trips to Austria, France, Blackpool and Windermere.

The year started with a short New Year break to EuroDisney for members of POPSY, which provides support for carers and Parents of Partially Sighted and Blind Youngsters, and their families.

February saw the annual Jumbulance ski trip return to Niederau in Austria, where the group stayed at Hotel Sonnschein. The VIP travellers

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enjoyed hours of assisted skiing on the slopes, with instructors and equipment provided by DSUK.

In March, we were delighted to assist a young boy called Archie, who lives with a rare genetic disorder, and his family to EuroDisney. No matter how big or small, our Jumbulance trip to EuroDisney is always a magical event.

At Easter time, two of our Jumbulance groups made a special pilgrimage to Lourdes. This is a popular and important trip for many of our VIPs who return to the holy site year on year.

In May, a Jumbulance group from Yorkshire enjoyed a break at the accessible Bond Hotel in Blackpool. A splendid break was had by all and the group took daily excursions to Blackpool Tower and Liverpool, to follow the Beatles trail!

June and July were extra-fun filled months for the charity. First the The Jumbulance Trust helped St Christopher’s Hospice to take a group to the WOMAD festival, or The World of Music, Art and Dance, for a truly culture-full weekend.

Later in the month, a Jumbulance enabled a group of younger adults to take a summer break in Brittany, France. As with all our trips to Europe, the Jumbulance boards either the ferry or the Euroshuttle service to arrive in France and onward to its final destination. Our VIPs reported that the trip achieved the perfect

balance of sun, sea, sand and ice cream, with the odd baguette and crepe thrown in!

In September, our Berkshire/ Hampshire Jumbulance group travelled to Norfolk to make the most of the wonderful Indian summer! The group stayed in disabled-friendly self- catering cottages and took excursions to Cromer, on the north Norfolk coast and several other nearby locations.

As the leaves turned redder still, a Jumbulance coach travelled north with a group of VIPs who were ready to discover Windermere and the Lake District in the autumn.

Every November the Jumbulance attends the famous Lord Mayor’s Show. This year the children from Derian House Children’s hospice travelled with us and watched the colourful procession of marching bands and floats, followed by an evening firework display over the Thames.

Phew! What an action-packed year it’s been, and that’s without mentioning all the miles the Jumbulances cover to enable care home residents to take day-trips to destinations such as the wildlife parks and the Great British sea-side!

Groups from across the country have already started preparing for their 2017 trips. If you’d like to find out more about how to hire the Jumbulance, please get in touch on 01582 765423.

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