Local Heroes Recruited But still more Volunteer Drivers Needed

 


More than 30 new volunteer drivers for Community Car Schemes have recently come forward to help isolated, elderly and disabled people across Devon get to medical appointments and to help people like Mavis. 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. As her local bus service is so irregular, she is totally dependent on a voluntary sector provider. Mavis is very grateful for the service that the voluntary sector offers.  "I would say the driver is my hero! He drops me off at the entrance of the clinic and comes back to find me after parking the car. I do enjoy his 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!"


Demand is still growing for this community transport services and more drivers are urgently needed across South Devon and Torbay, particularly in Bovey Tracy, Buckfastleigh, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Totnes.


Carl saw an advert for Volunteer Drivers in his local newspaper and decided to respond; having recently retired with a little time on his hands he wanted to get more involved within his local community. Carl was an HGV driver for many years. He went along to meet to Dawlish Community Transport to find out more, completed his Application Form, then went on to do Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle training enabling him to not only transport able passengers but also wheelchair users; giving him more scope to drive more people in the community.


Another new driver is Ruth Smyth-Bonfield who has started driving for Volunteering in Health in Teignmouth earlier this year. Following her first drive she posted the following on Facebook:
"First volunteer drive complete -check
Hospital parking negotiated - check
Client safely delivered to correct department - check
Unexpected and very welcome conversation while driving about observing the deep sky and capturing images of the crab nebula - check"

Conversation can be a real bonus, even more so for the person who is being driven to their medical appointment. Sometimes this is the only chance for social contact the person has, other times a welcome opportunity to chat with somebody different to take their mind of a worrying medical appointment. Drivers and clients alike tend to enjoy the drive. With some drivers volunteering for more than 20 years!

And indeed, Eric Smallridge, who has been driving for Dawlish Community Transport for 23 years says“ If I can make people laugh or even smile then I have done a good job.”

If you do have a driving licence and the drive to make a difference please contact us to find out more on FREEPHONE 0800 304 7413 or email anja@teigncvs.org.uk and we will put you in touch with the right Community Transport organisation in South Devon.


Photos credit: Volunteer Driver Parking Permit taken by Ruth Smyth-Bonfield

In 2015-16 43 Community Car Schemes across Southern Devon provided 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.
 


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