The important role of Somerset’s volunteer drivers has been celebrated at two annual ‘thank you’ events.
A dedicated army of nearly 200 fantastic drivers currently act as volunteers for Somerset County Council, providing transport for eligible non-emergency NHS patients and social care users.
They were all invited to meet up at events in Taunton and Shepton Mallet this month so the County Council could say thank you.
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Our volunteer drivers really are unsung heroes, giving up their time to help all kinds of people who are eligible for a lift, whether that’s taking a cancer patient to chemotherapy or dropping a child in care off at a contact visit with a family member.
“They’re usually happy to avoid the spotlight, but I want to take this opportunity to publicly say a very big thank you to them all for their hard work. It is appreciated and it does make a tremendous amount of difference in communities across Somerset.”
The two events gave drivers from all over the county chance to meet up and socialise with fellow volunteers. At the Taunton event, refreshments and goody bags were kindly provided by Costa Coffee as part of the Costa Community Project which helps local stores get involved in causes that matter to their customers.
The ageing population in Somerset means demand for transport is growing and more volunteers are needed in all parts of the county.
Successful recruits can claim back up to 50p per mile for expenses. Hours can be flexible and volunteer driving is a rewarding opportunity to get out and about, meet new people and provide a vital community service.
Anyone can be a volunteer driver – the only criteria is that you must be over 18, have use of your own four-door vehicle, and hold a full UK driving licence with no more than six points.
To find out more, please contact Somerset You Can Do by calling 01278 664180, or visit www.somerset.gov.uk/volunteering.