1079. David Gibson
David Gibson, from Glasgow, is a taxi driver who established ‘Fares4Free’, a taxi scheme which provides free travel assistance for veterans in order to combat social isolation.
After hearing the experiences of friends who are ex-Forces members struggling to travel to health appointments and facing loneliness, he began offering free lifts to veterans to enable them to easily access services. Since launching the scheme in April 2016, ‘Fares4Free’ has now supported over 450 veterans on more than 5,000 individual journeys worth the value of £150,000 in taxi fares. David runs the initiative across Scotland with support from 22 taxi companies, as well as from local councils and over 30 partner charities, such as ‘Combat Stress’, to identify those who require assistance and provide them with further support. The charity is also now providing assistance for elderly individuals and people with dementia to help ease isolation and provide respite for carers.
David was presented with his award by his local MP Paul Masterton (pictured above).
In a personal letter to David, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The success of your pioneering initiative ‘Fares4Free’ is a testament to your remarkable commitment to ensuring that veterans across Scotland have a strong support network. You should feel enormously proud of inspiring so many other taxi drivers to provide invaluable support for Armed Forces communities who have made great sacrifices in the service of our country.”
“I am pleased to accept the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award on behalf of the many drivers and taxi firms around the country, who give up their time and income to help us help veterans reach essential services and beat Social Isolation one mile at a time. This will encourage us to grow the service and to seek new partnerships. These partners provide a life-changing safety net that stays in place ready to assist our most vulnerable veterans.
“Please, Don’t wait for November to remember.”
Pictured below: some of the veterans supported by ‘Fares4Free’, and the taxi service in operation across Scotland