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It provides a link to medical appointments and leisure activities, combatting social isolation and allowing people to continue to lead full lives in spite of the limitations on their mobility imposed by road works and post-earthquake infrastructure repairs.
The distinctive blue and white vans always have two volunteers on board, a driver and an assistant, and the service has been operating in its current form since July 2013. There are 19 volunteers who regularly drive the vans, but more are always needed for this popular service.
About 80 per cent of the passengers belong to the ‘third Age’ - older people who find it hard to get around Christchurch.
Warwick Armstrong normally drives the Cross Town Shuttle, but is happy to help out with whatever is needed. He says it can be hard to find people happy to drive across Christchurch nowadays because of all the road works and disruption.
“I don’t use GPS. I look it all up on Google the night before and try and find the best route for the timetable, you have to forget all about ‘as the crow flies’ and sometimes use the longest route if that’s best.”
Warwick says he enjoys the companionship of the other volunteers and clients, and that he believes that volunteering is good for you.
“It’s good for your health! It gives your empathy batteries a recharge and it’s a change from your routine. We should all strive to continue to grow through life and it gives you the chance to learn something new.”
A retired train driver, and active union member, Warwick has always been a believer in the power of people acting collectively for the common good.
“I’ve always believed you have to put something back into society. We get the kind of society we have contributed to."
A long-time supporter of Red Cross, Warwick enjoys the opportunity to support people working together for the common good on an international scale. He was spurred to make the move from supporter to volunteer following the earthquakes in Canterbury.
“I’d heard a radio ad before the earthquakes and thought about putting my name down, but the quakes made me want to do something.”