Get Yourself in the (Volunteer) Driverís Seat in 2017

An appeal has gone out for volunteer drivers, for Community Car Schemes. Across South Devon and Torbay many isolated, elderly and disabled people find it difficult to get about due to their restricted transport choices and more volunteer drivers are urgently needed in Bovey Tracy, Buckfastleigh, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Totnes. Drivers need only to be available a few hours a week or month.

One of the vital tasks volunteer drivers perform is tohelp patients attend medical appointments. In 2015-16 43 Community Car Schemes across Southern Devon alone provided at least 18,134 passenger journeys to and from health appointments, and 17,814 journeys for social and wellbeing purposes, covering an incredible 190,459 miles. Community Car schemes support patients and carers who have limited access to personal or public transport to attend health appointments and therefore actively contribute to positive outcomes for patients and assist the NHS.

Mavis is an elderly lady who lives on her own. She is visually impaired and goes to regular appointments at the Eye Clinic at Torbay Hospital.

She is totally dependent on this voluntary sector provider as the bus service is so irregular. She often has eye injections at the eye clinic which affect her vision and because of this it would be impossible for her to find her own way back home on public transport

She is very grateful for the service that the voluntary sector offers. "I am so grateful for the service. The driver drops me off at the entrance of the clinic and comes back to find me after parking the car. I do enjoy the company and conversations we have and it really helps me to have somebody to talk to on the way home, particularly if I am feeling a bit worried!"

Volunteer driver, Brian, says; "I get a lot of enjoyment from the driving, you have to avoid all the bumps and drive as smoothly as possible because a lot of our passengers are frail. I also enjoy being able to help people, who often seldom get out of their homes due to mobility issues. People are often very pleased when I collect other passengers on the way to or from appointments and treat it like an outing. (‘Ooh, I`ve never been around here before’ is often heard!) I also enjoy the humour and mickey taking of the other drivers and staff (which I miss after working on building sites all my working life).”

Ever since the ancient Babylonians people have made New Year’s resolution, planning to improve aspects of their lives. Now there is one easy way that ticks many of those New Year’s resolution boxes: Volunteering. Not only is there statistical evidence that it improves your own health and wellbeing it also makes a huge difference to other peoples’ lives

If you do have a driving licence and would like to find out more please contact Teignbridge CVS on 01626 326120 or email to be put in touch with any of the transport organisations in South Devon.

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