The HillsCarPal Cause Explained …

by convenor on 01/06/2014


Mavis (name changed) of Castle Hill is one of people that HillsCarPal is helping. She has complex medical needs that are involving her in up to 10 doctors’ visits in a month at the moment. Some of these are at the Westmead University Clinic. Mavis uses a scooter for getting to her local shops and has limited mobility. She can’t negotiate public transport. Mavis has used Community Transport but says she is over her budgeted allowance until July. Prior to registering with HillsCarPal, Mavis needed a taxi to get home from Westmead. It got caught in peak hour traffic and cost her, a pensioner, $100.

Wise Elder

Mavis has told HillsCarPal that she now will cancel appointments that are     important for her ongoing treatments rather than risk catching taxis. Because of family circumstance Mavis has little family support for her transport needs. HillsCarPal is proud to be able to help people like Mavis through the generosity of its volunteers.


EXPLAINING how HillsCarPal helps Sydney Hills Shut-in Seniors to get out and about around Sydney: 

 It all down to our volunteers. There are two (2) sorts. Firstly volunteer drivers and secondly volunteer facilitators.

Clients call their facilitator or directly enter their Ride Requests online themselves. These are then published as an “Event” (in a secure group) on Facebook.


Drivers check their Facebook and offer the Ride requested when it fits with where they are travelling. The volunteer driver then detours to pick up the Senior.

Another volunteer driver provides the RETURN Ride, which is also requested and accepted on Facebook.
HillsCarPal is really a network that allows volunteer drivers to know when a Sydney Hills Shut-in Senior wants or needs to travel. It also provides an easy way to to tell the Senior if their request can be met and by whom.
As a result, HillsCarPal can inexpensively provide 24/7 Seniors Transportation around Sydney and at short notice to allow Seniors some spontaneity in living life.
HillsCarPal volunteers work cooperatively together to make sure that:

  • Everyone can get the most life out of their years
  • Everyone stays connected to their family, friends and community
  • We live and grow in a world where our elderly are not shut out and forgotten
  • It’s quick, simple and fun to lend a helping hand, in as little as 5 minutes!



As we mentioned the idea behind starting a Seniors Transportation service came along when Gloria Sutton came into our Orbit.

Gloria was in her late 80’s at the time and had lost her licence. She came to rely on multiple sources of transport to keep her engaged with living life. It was amazing how she coordinated everything and everybody so that she could manage both her everyday needs & her complex medical requirements. Family, friends, neighbours and Aged Care services all played a role in the web that Gloria fashioned so that she could be as active as her health allowed and to stay in touch with people in her community. Gloria used the phone frequently and learnt to SMS on her mobile, including to Glen & Tina, friends who were regularly overseas.

But Gloria felt frustrated with the complexity involved in being able to get where she needed or wanted to be, particularly if there was a short notice involved. She was unable to maintain her interest in an astrology association she used to regularly attend because it met at night and on the other side of the City. So each month she missed out. Her mobility issues meant that catching public transport was not an option for her. So when a neighbour and friend moved a suburb away to a Retirement Village, she gave up all hope of having personal contact with the life-long friend and said that the phone would “have to do”.

Gloria SuttonGloria was resigned to living life at half-pace; being no longer able to drive where she wanted to go. She rarely complained and was always thankful to those who helped her but she was suffering the effects of Shut-in Syndrome (in silence) and was starting to feel things getting on top of her.

Being an optimist by nature, Gloria hadn’t quite given up hoping that she could deal with the things life threw at her but from time to time she did feel depressed about the hand she was dealt.

John McQuarrie (HillsCarPal Convenor) who volunteered with BCS at that time assisted Gloria to get to and from shopping each fortnight and came to see her plight. He realized that there were large gaps in the transportation services available to Seniors and that those marvellous services that did exist were not responsive enough to meet the needs of Seniors wanting to live life with a little spontaneity thrown in.

He came to realize that Seniors Transportation meant much more to a Shut-in Senior than a Ride here or there. It was their main means of staying connected with their Community and not being shut down or feeling ignored by everyone. It gave them a means of overcoming isolation, uncertainty and hopelessness in their lives by being able to staying connected with people in their community.


And so the HillsCarPal program and, indeed, cause was developed on the following foundational theme:

How would you feel if you were trapped in a coffin and no one could hear you?

Did you know that there are around 1065 people in The Hills who deal with isolation, uncertainty and hopelessness every day of their lives?

Imagine how you would feel if one of them was your grandmother!

HillsCarPal is making sure that…


  • Everyone can get the most life out of their years
  • Everyone stays connected to their family, friends and community
  • We live and grow in a world where our elderly are not shut out and forgotten
  • It’s quick, simple and fun to lend a helping hand, in as little as 5 minutes!



Thanks for reading our story,



The HillsCarPal Team


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