WAVERLEY hoppa Community Transport estimates it will need 20,000 pairs of gloves, 20,000 face masks, 5,000 aprons and 1,500 bottles of hand sanitiser to maintain a safe and responsible service over the next year.

The service has recently resumed some of its dial-a-ride services – but the unplanned expense of PPE runs into thousands of pounds and like many other charities, hoppa has had to look to grant-giving organisations for support.

The Community Foundation for Surrey has recently awarded hoppa a £5,000 grant from its Coronavirus Response Fund, which has enabled the community transport charity to buy a three-month supply of essential PPE.

Steve Forward, general manager at hoppa, said: “We are extremely grateful to everybody who has donated money to the Surrey Coronavirus Response Fund as the grant we received certainly helped make it possible to restart our dial a ride service.

“To enable a safe social distance to be maintained, we have limited the number of people who can travel at any one time to five, and mask/face coverings are mandatory for all – we can provide passengers with a mask and hand sanitiser if they need it.

“We have also agreed with the major supermarkets that hoppa passengers can be dropped off at the front door and will not need to queue to enter the store.

“All other aspects of the service such as the booking process, the friendly staff, the meeting and greeting of passengers by the driver and help with carrying shopping have not changed.”

Hoppa has recently contacted all its regular dial a ride customers in Godalming, Farnham and Haslemere and around 35 per cent have indicated they are ready to travel.

It is expected this number will increase over the coming weeks as people start to attend routine medical appointments and claim back their independence.

Visit www.hoppa.org.uk or call 01428 681701 Monday to Friday, from 8am to 4pm.