Bolster Celebrates Volunteer Drivers

Bolster Community Celebrates Home2Hospital Volunteer Drivers

Bolster Community Management Board and staff welcomed representatives from Newry Mourne and Down District Council along with elected representatives and volunteers to Warrenpoint Golf Club.

The event was a celebration of the unwavering dedication and commitment of the Volunteer Drivers who are crucial to the work of Bolster Community and their Home2Hospital Service.

Attendees at the event included NI Minister of Finance, Conor Murphy MLA; MLA’s Justin McNulty (SDLP), Diane Forsythe (DUP); and local councillors Oonagh Magennis, Roisin Mulgrew and Aoife Finnegan.

Bolster volunteer drivers pictured with Cllr Michael Savage, Chairman of Newry Mourne and Down District Council, NI Minister of Finance Conor Murphy MLA, local councillors and guests at a reception in Warrenpoint Golf Club.

The lunch was an opportunity to thank and celebrate the humble Volunteer Drivers who have given up their time to support their fellow community members who are isolated and have no alternative means of getting to hospital.

Cllr Michael Savage, Chairperson of Newry Mourne and Down District Council said: “The Council are delighted to work alongside the incredible Bolster community.

“We have been so impressed with the inspirational work they do in the local area and the positive impact this has on so many lives.

“As chairperson, I had the pleasure of attending this event to recognise those in the community that volunteer to support the work of Bolster Community making this service possible.

“The council is delighted to be able to fund this service for those vulnerable on our society.”

At the event, a short video documentary produced by Bolster Community was screened,  featuring three service users.

They echoed their gratitude for the ‘vital’ Home2Hospital service, and the Volunteer Drivers who assisted them in getting to their appointments.

A service user from Kilkeel, who was forced to turn to the Home2Hospital service after hearing about it in the local library, said that the existing travel options were too expensive for her.

Cllr Michael Savage, Chairman of Newry Mourne and Down District Council, pictured with Majella Baxter, who received a special award from Bolster

Added to this, due to the layout of this service as a bus route, the wait in the minibus would have been extremely uncomfortable for them in their illness.

Home2Hospital offers a patient-first approach where the patient is the priority, as is ensuring they meet their hospital appointments on time and arrive safely.

Bolster Chairperson Eamonn Connolly welcomed guests to Warrenpoint Golf Club, and spoke of the dedication and commitment of the Volunteers who give up their time to support those living in the local community who struggle to attend out-of-area hospital appointments.

He expressed his gratitude to the local council (NMDDC) for funding this service over the past 7 years.

From January to July 2022, Bolster Community’s Volunteer Drivers made a total of 253 hospital journeys, including the support of an extensive successful chemotherapy course for one lady from South Armagh.

“This is an initiative supported and funded by the Newry Mourne and Down District Council to take those over 60 and living in rural areas such as Kilkeel and Slieve Gullion to attend their out-of-area hospital appointments.”

During the last year, Bolster Community Volunteer Drivers have ensured that 421 older people, who have no other means of transport, made it to essential medical appointments.

A special award was made to Majella Baxter, who has been a great friend to Bolster Community over the years, helping to source furniture for many families in need.

Cllr Michael Savage also gave a special thanks to Mrs Anne McArdle from Kilkeel who has been a Volunteer Driver with Bolster Community for 10 years.

If you would like to know more about the Bolster Community services, please contact Paula on 02830835764 or email:


About Bolster Community:

Bolster Community is a practical, hands-on charity and social enterprise that works alongside individuals, families, and communities to improve health and wellbeing.

Through its charity services, they help countless children, parents, young people of mixed ability and seniors to reach their full potential.

They support ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges from early years right through to later years. With an uncompromising, people-first approach, they go the extra mile to complement existing services within the community.

Acorn is the Social Enterprise through which their Candlemakers produce a luxury range of products from soap bars to three-wick candles and soy wax melts.

All products are lovingly handcrafted by young people of mixed ability, who you can find out more about on their website and through our social media.

All profits are invested into supporting their vital work and creating more opportunities for the ever-expanding team of Candlemakers.

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