Financial pressures and social isolation takes its toll on the taxi industry’s charitable events in 2020.
Cabbies across the UK have historically fundraised and volunteered for vulnerable sections of the communities that they serve. However, they are being forced to cancel plans as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
In Scotland, Edinburgh’s 74th Taxi Outing due to take place this summer has been cancelled.
Last year, the children experienced a spectacle of colour and balloons as part of the 73rd outing.
The annual taxi outing, which is steeped in tradition, offers the families a memorable free day out which would otherwise not be possible. The outing was formed in the wake of the Second World War and has been popular ever since.
A spokesperson from the Edinburgh Taxi Outing Committee told its drivers on Friday: “It is with much regret and sadness that the Committee has decided to cancel this year's Outing.
"We had hoped to delay making a decision for as long as possible, but with the schools closing from today for an indeterminate period, without them we cannot contact the families involved.
“Also taxi drivers are taking a massive hit financially, with much harder times to come. We rely on the generosity of taxi owners and drivers to make this Outing happen, and whilst there would be many drivers who would still volunteer so that the kids don't miss out, despite how dire their own financial position might be, we felt that it would be unfair to potentially add to their already difficult position.
“We also rely on a lot of volunteers to help out in the run up to the event and also on the day itself, and we don't know how many volunteers we might have available.
“We are also supported by many, many businesses throughout the year and especially on the big day itself, and again the Committee felt it wouldn't be right imposing on the generosity of these businesses at a time when those businesses might be fighting for their own survival.
“Whilst there will be many disappointed people out there, none more so than myself and the Committee, that this year's Outing is cancelled, we hope that, for the reasons above, you understand why we've had to do this.
“Stay positive and we'll be back for our 74th Outing on 8 June 2021.”
In London, the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children (LTCFC) has also had to abandon its plans.
Bradley Winfield, Honorary Chairman of the LTCFC, said: “It is with much regret that we have to announce that our outing to Southend on 14 July has been cancelled following Government guidelines issued due to the current situation with the Covid-19 Coronavirus.
“The LTCFC committee are really disappointed to take this decision but the health and safety of the children, carers, drivers and everyone else involved on the day remains our number one priority.”
Back in Scotland, another huge charity taxi event, the Glasgow Taxi Outing Fund trip to Troon, has also been cancelled.
Last week, Stephen Lalley, Treasurer of the Glasgow Taxi Outing Fund, released a statement saying: “The Glasgow Taxi Outing Fund charity today regrets to announce that the planned 75th annual children's trip to Troon scheduled for Wednesday 17 June has been cancelled.
“The extraordinary circumstances and challenges we all face today and in the months ahead mean that this was the only possible decision we could reach at this time.
“The trip has always been about the children including some of the most vulnerable young people in our great city and their health and wellbeing was foremost in our minds in reaching this decision.
“We can also confirm that the trip will not be rescheduled for later this year - instead we intend to hold the 75th annual trip in June of next year, 2021.
“The Glasgow Taxi Outing Fund committee would like to thank everyone who worked so hard in the early preparations for this year's trip. We wish everyone connected with the trip - from Glasgow to Troon and across the country - the very best of health in the days ahead.
“Finally, to our many friends across the emergency and health services, we thank you for everything you are doing to support people in our communities right now and stand beside you as that continues.”
Header image credits: LTCFC / Sparky Forsyth (Creative Sparks Photography)