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Members of Newquay Towan Blystra Lions at Newquay Hospital, with representatives from PCH, NHS, Cornwall Council and Newquay Mayor Kevin Towill, with consort Rose Knowlson

LIONS in Newquay will help to relieve residents’ stress as they officially launched their new project last week. 

In a scheme which is thought to be one of the first of its kind in the country, Newquay Towan Blystra Lions Club last Thursday signed an agreement with Cornwall Council which will see their volunteer members providing a quick collection service for medical support equipment such as beds, chairs and walking aids from homes where they are no longer needed.

Such equipment is loaned out from Cornwall’s Equipment Loan Store, and the staff there deliver and collect equipment across the county.

However, in some instances, they are unable to collect items as swiftly as a client would wish and it is with these types of requests that Newquay Towan Blystra Lions hope to assist. The volunteers have all received training at the Loan Store and have all received CRB clearance.

President of the club, Phil Bunt said: “Requests to have equipment collected often come from bereaved relatives who are obviously upset and want the items removed as soon as possible.

“Staff at the loan store do a superb job but sometimes may not be able to do the collection for a few days.  So, in the Newquay area, Lions are able to go out, normally within 24 hours and return the items to the store.”

Speaking on behalf of Cornwall Council, Robin Stephenson, senior manager of support and finance in the Adult Care and Support Directorate said: “The Loan Store’s target is to collect within seven days, but in some circumstances, for instance after a bereavement, families would like us to retrieve items quicker than that.

“As a service, our priority is ensuring equipment deliveries are carried out promptly, and when we face capacity pressures, they are prioritised over collections. So the offer from the Lions to assist in this area is very welcome, and will be a huge relief to the families concerned. It’s really encouraging to see partnership working taking place in our communities to make a difference to people’s lives. ”

Peninsular Community Health (PCH) say they are pleased to have been included in this collaborative effort and is looking forward to being a host for the service, at Newquay Hospital.

A spokesperson said that PCH staff hope the service will also reduce the instance of equipment being left in inappropriate locations such as hospitals and at other service providers. They have been working for 18 months to this end, including helping train Lions volunteers, and are looking forward to seeing the scheme in action.

The Lions Club are able to provide this support because of the assistance of local businessman, Andrew Laming of the Newquay Voice who is allowing his company’s vehicle, which is normally used to collect newspapers once a week, to be used on the remaining six days when it is not in use.

He said: “I am delighted to see the vehicle being used by a community group like the Lions for such a worthwhile purpose.”

Users of equipment that requires collection should continue to contact the Equipment Loan Store on 01208 269 716. The staff will then determine whether it is appropriate to use the Lions services in each instance.