The Voluntary Transport Service - Bridging the Gap, Connecting Communities
Community Transport Week is being celebrated nationally between 16 and 21 October and we would like to take this opportunity to share with you a little about what our Voluntary Transport Service does to foster a sense of belonging and community spirit, bridge divides and empower individuals, regardless of age, gender, geography or income.
Over the past forty years our volunteer drivers have completed over 7 million journeys and supported thousands of local people in Rushcliffe and Gedling to stay independent, take part in their communities, socialise and access vital public services.
The role of Voluntary Transport in preventing loneliness and social isolation, cannot be overstated as it often represents the only means of transport for many vulnerable and isolated people, often older people or people with disabilities. Being able to get from A to B is crucial for maintaining a happy, healthy, active and enjoyable life – it’s so much more than transport, it’s offering a lifeline.
Our dedicated volunteers come from all walks of life and are the driving force behind the Transport Service, offering a friendly face, listening ear, reassurance, care and support as well as safe and reliable journeys.
Case Study Barbara is 82 years old and lives at home alone. She has mobility and hearing difficulties, her family live far away, and there is no bus stop nearby. She reports feeling lonely and watches the television for company.
Barbara was referred to our Voluntary Transport Service which offers to come to her door and take her out, be it to a luncheon club, health appointment or, Barbara’s favourite activity, on a shopping trip. Barbara’s confidence has grown and she now goes out to social activities and shopping on a regular basis; she no longer feels so cut off from the world. She enjoys chats with the volunteers and laughs with her new friends; she realises that she isn’t alone any longer. This is a service that doesn’t cost her the earth but it is worth so much: She feels supported and that there are people in her life once more.
Thanks to the generosity of Westdale Care Home we are now working in partnership to provide our new ‘Get out and about’ minibus service taking passengers on weekly shopping trips. These are proving very popular, as Barbara says “ The minibus has improved my independence, I have made friends and look forward to my shopping days”
Last year alone our team of volunteers generously gave:
· over 20,000 hours of their time (with a value of approx. £212,000)
· to provide 18,650 journeys to people like Barbara
· covering a total of 128,405 miles.
There will be no doubt in your minds that community transport has the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of more people like Barbara, but we urgently need to recruit new volunteer drivers and passenger assistants to enable us to do this. Can you help us?
· Publicise our volunteering opportunities in your public spaces, on your noticeboards and in your media?
· Encourage people, including your staff, to volunteer their time and skills as part of a corporate responsibility programme or, to simply spread the word to friends and family who might be interested?
If you would like to find out more about what we do or, if you know people who would benefit from the service or would like to volunteer please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
Telephone: 0115 9699 060
Membership forms are available by phone request or can be downloaded from our website.
’’ Since I can no longer drive I rely on you to take me to see my wife in the care home. The office staff are patient on the phone, real people. The drivers are kind and friendly - this service is like therapy!” – Fred, 85
“I don’t feel safe on my feet after my stroke. Bless the person who thought up this idea. The service is wonderful! Thank you to all of the volunteers you are worth your weight in GOLD”! – Mary, 83.
“It’s always a delight to meet my passengers. I enjoy chatting, listening and knowing that they and I are gaining from my volunteering experience”. Richard, 73, volunteer driver.
Together We Improve Lives