People across Somerset with no transport of their own need help to get to important medical appointments.
From routine checks to cardiology and cancer-related care, these Somerset residents benefit enormously from reliable volunteer drivers to get them there.
The team also support adults and children with journeys relating to social care.
Somerset County Council’s current volunteer drivers are in need of new recruits, to support the NHS and the Council in ensuring patients get the care and treatment that they need.
It is an ideal opportunity for anybody over 18 with a full UK driving licence and four-door car to do something for their community; particularly those who enjoy driving and meeting new people. Patients appreciate the opportunity to chat to their drivers too, since some live in socially or geographically isolated situations.
Pat Ryan, who has been one of Somerset County Council’s volunteer drivers for 10 years, said:
“I feel I’m doing something useful for the community in which I live. I’ve been lucky with my health throughout my life, and I want to help people who have not had the same luck.
“I’ve been a volunteer driver for 10 years now and thoroughly enjoy taking passengers to hospital for their routine appointments.
“Driving around our beautiful Somerset is not really a hardship!”
For each journey carried out by a volunteer driver, a mileage reimbursement rate of 45p per mile or 50p per mile loaded is applied.
Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Executive Lead Member for Communities, said:
“The Covid pandemic impacted many of our wonderful volunteers’ ability to do the volunteer driver role, due to lockdown rules and social distancing precautions that were in place. Since then, we have welcomed many of our drivers back; however, we are still in desperate need of more due to the vital role they play in supporting those who need help to appointments.
“In this role, you will get to meet many of our residents who appreciate the time with our volunteer drivers when they are living in remote or isolated situations. We therefore need individuals from all walks of life who have the time to give; so the role can suit both those who are part time or retired as well as those looking for work to enrich your CV.
“We could not be without our volunteers, so a huge thank you to our existing team, and welcome on board to anyone who may join us – we appreciate your dedication enormously.”
To find out more about the role and apply, please visit: https://volunteering.somerset.gov.uk/drive/
Alternatively, you can email Volunteers@somerset.gov.uk or call 01823 359200 to make a difference in your community.