The Karshare community scheme to help mobilise front-line workers during the Coronavirus crisis was first launched in Bristol – and as a Bristolian I was both inspired and grateful to the public and all the healthcare professionals and volunteers who jumped on board this car sharing scheme so readily. To see first-hand how it has changed peoples’ lives in my home town during this crisis has been a privilege.
For instance Paul Teed; he had been working as a full time researcher at Bristol University and had already volunteered to go back to clinical work in Cheltenham to help with the frontline Covid-19 effort. He was facing a 40 minute commute each way, in addition to long shifts and the general unease of contagion. Paul came across the Karshare scheme on Facebook, and we managed to match him with Ian’s donated car quickly. Ian had been shielding for 12 weeks at home in Bristol and was delighted that his otherwise idle car could help Paul do his job safely. Paul’s working life now is completely different to what it had been a few months ago – a situation that’s hard enough to adapt to without added worry about something as basic as transportation.
“It was really inspiring to collect a donated car from someone who is clearly having their own difficulty, but is willing to help the community. It’s made getting back home to bed from long shifts at hospital so much easier. Thank you!” – Paul Teed
Regan Schoffer is another amazing honorary Bristolian we managed to help. She is actually a Canadian who had only been in the UK since October 2019, working as a radiographer at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. When the Coronavirus crisis hit the UK she was facing a daily commute from Bristol to Bath in very difficult circumstances, and had even been considering returning to Canada, having tried unsuccessfully to find a cheap car rental in all the usual places. Regan’s friend tagged her in a Karshare Facebook post, and within days we’d managed to find a car for Regan’s commute.
”I couldn’t believe it; people are usually so possessive over their cars. You must really care to be able to donate your car like this. The lady who donated her car actually recognised me from when she’d had treatment in hospital – it’s wonderful to have been able to connect again in such a positive way.” – Regan Schoffer
Not only are these vehicles helping those who need them most right now; they’re also reconnecting us to the people around us in our community, who we wouldn’t normally meet and whose stories wouldn’t normally affect us. Covid-19 has touched us all, and sometimes it’s a really difficult time like this that brings us all together as a community to help each other out. I’m so grateful to have been able to do my bit with the team at Karshare.