Volunteer drivers and couple, Mick and Jenny, talk on film about how they got started and what they enjoy about driving people to their important appointments.
They have been volunteer drivers for over two years. Jenny said: “We feel like we are really making a difference. It’s an expensive area we live in for people to be able to get to and fro, particularly if they don’t have their own transport.”
Mick continued: “It helps people to keep costs down on transport if they can use trusted volunteers. Plus it keeps us off the street, it gives us something to talk about. We are both retired and it gives us something to do.”
The volunteer drivers scheme, run by Somerset County Council, provides transport for eligible non-emergency NHS patients and social care users, ranging from the elderly to young children. This includes trips to hospital for medical appointments, transport to activity day centres, or trips for children in care to meet their family.
Jenny said: “The people we meet are wonderful. We meet such a diverse range of people. I think they enjoy our conversation and we cheer them up and that makes a big difference to us and them.
“We work it well together as a couple. We have preferences on what trips we want to do and we have our regulars.”
Around 190 fantastic drivers across the county currently act as volunteers. More volunteer drivers are needed, particularly in the Mendip area.
Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Drivers like Mick and Jenny make a real difference to people’s lives.
“I would encourage anyone who has some spare time and enjoys driving to consider becoming a volunteer driver. It’s a great opportunity to help others, meet new people, improve your CV and provide a vital lifeline in your community.”
Anyone can be a volunteer – the only criteria is that drivers must be over 18, have use of their own four-door vehicle, and hold a full UK driving licence and able to commit at least one day a week to volunteer. Mileage expenses will be reimbursed at up to 50p per mile.
To find out more call 01278 664180 or visit www.somerset.gov.uk/volunteering