Somerset villagers can now rev up their own car schemes with a new step-by-step toolkit from Somerset County Council.
Community Car Schemes are volunteer-run services which help community members who find it difficult to access or use transport to make essential journeys, such as medical appointments or visiting friends and family.
Such schemes are currently being run by a number of non-profit-making groups. These village and parish-based schemes give a door-to-door service.
Somerset County Council’s toolkit aims to take people through the steps of setting up their own car scheme and answer any questions. It also includes a draft constitution and rules, along with a handy volunteer driver handbook.
A ‘can-do’ team from Stogursey has been the first to use the toolkit to set up a car sharing scheme, with support from Somerset County Council.
Stogursey Parish Council was keen to see a scheme on the road for residents unable to drive themselves to doctors and hospital appointments. Eight volunteer drivers, supported by volunteer coordinators, have been up and running since 5 January, using their own cars to take community-based customers to where they need to be.
Linda Brown of the Stogursey scheme, said: “We found the County Council’s toolkit a very useful resource for checking we had all the correct paperwork in place, from insurance to checks and who to contact for advice at different points of the process. We can certainly recommend it as an ‘easy to follow’ guideline.
“If a member of the community calls, the co-ordinators then contact drivers to see who is available, confirming the booking with both the client and driver.
“Drivers only receive expenses for the fuel they use – time and goodwill are all given freely.
“In the first 3 weeks of operation, we have delivered 10 happy passengers to their appointments. All voiced their appreciation that the scheme has been introduced into the Parish of Stogursey, making life a little easier for them.”
Village agent, Yvonne Bulman, added: “The toolkit took the mystique out of setting up this type of scheme with a degree of confidence. I would regard it as essential equipment for any group wishing to establish a similar scheme in a rural area.”
Cllr Harvey Siggs, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Somerset County Council, said: “It is fantastic to see how these Community Car Schemes have been growing in popularity over the last few years.
“Not only do they take immense drive and enthusiasm, but it is clear there is a real demand for them, with around 25 currently operating across the county.
“This toolkit is a simple yet effective form of support for anyone wanting to establish a car scheme in their community.”
To see the full list of Community Car Schemes and other Community Transport Options currently available, by district, and to access the toolkit, visit www.movingsomersetforward.co.uk You can also email Nick Margison on or call 01823 358122 for more information.
Notes to editors
The toolkit is a feature of the Council’s ‘Moving Somerset Forward’ initiative to reduce congestion and pollution in Somerset by helping people explore and try out other rural transport options.
Community Transport and Car Schemes are not funded by Somerset County Council, however the authority gives support to the schemes in other ways by contributing staff time for meetings, providing and distributing information, and online at www.movingsomersetforward.co.uk