A volunteer was left ‘frustrated’ after receiving a parking fine from Kingston Council while collecting food donations for NHS staff last week.
RBKares volunteer Kate Foley, 39, parked on double yellow lines on Dolphin Street in Kingston at 11:53am on 15 January as she collected food donations from Bentalls with her daughters aged three and five in the car.
Kingston resident Helen Hinton, 58, heard about the fine on social media and paid the £55 fee on her birthday yesterday to prevent others being put off volunteering.
Foley said: “I am so grateful that Helen has taken away all of the stress, but I feel really frustrated, the right thing would have been for the council to not see it through.
“I didn’t think for a second that when I explained it to the council they wouldn’t overturn it and be charitable in this particular situation.
“The reason I was there was to take donations to bring to the hospital, they are struggling so much. All of this is about helping the doctors and the nurses and the staff, it’s not about where I parked.”
After appealing the fine, an officer from Kingston Parking Services wrote to Foley to explain that they couldn’t revoke the penalty.
RBKares have donated a number of items to Kingston hospital in recent months and raised £13,377 for the staff health and well-being fund.
Hinton criticised Kingston Council for not revoking the fine despite the fact it was for a volunteer for a charitable cause.
She said: “Parking tickets being given to volunteers is unacceptable, it takes away money from charity and it stops volunteers from volunteering.
“I paid it personally, I thought I could donate to RBKares but we don’t really want donations which should be supporting the volunteers going on parking fines.
“Fining volunteers puts people off massively, most volunteers are just normal people.
“Kingston Council should show some humanity, but they are not.”
Hinton added that volunteers supporting the NHS have a special place in her heart as her son is a junior doctor in Oxford.
A Kingston Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the parking issues that have arisen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and these are carefully considered as part of our enforcement mitigation policy when dealing with contested Penalty Charge Notices.
“However, the council must also take into account the nature of the contravention such as the impact on pedestrians, safety and traffic flow when considering each individual case.”
Featured image credit: Kate Foley / RBKares