John Vickery. Volunteer Driver – Four Towns and Vale Link.
I became a ‘volunteer’ driver many years ago when I took on the role of ‘taxi driver’ for my daughter and eventually my two grandchildren! I am pleased to say that my responsibilities in this respect are now confined to just my grandson, including the school run and some out of school activities!
Therefore, many of us have already been voluntary drivers but, now that you may have some extra free time, have you considered being a voluntary driver for a great organisation like Four Towns?
My first introduction to driving for an organised transport group unfortunately was not a particularly happy experience, as I was expected to drive my own car, for which I was given a fuel allowance, however it was wear and tear on my own car! When I first applied to join that group as a volunteer, it took them over six months to process my application! I soon found out that the schedules that were set were quite often impossible to keep to and on one day I covered 231 miles, including four trips to Weston! Needless to say I only stayed with this group for one year!
My experience with Four Towns has been the complete opposite as, after a phone call and an informal chat with the Manager, Joy, I was accepted within two weeks and have now been involved with them for nearly three years, driving one of their vehicles. They are such a friendly bunch, genuinely appreciative of their volunteers and are very conscious to set realistic work schedules. The journeys are varied, including trips to the doctors, hospital, hairdresser, senior clubs, shopping etc. and the list is endless. All of the passengers are so grateful for the time we give them and the highlight of my week is a Wednesday afternoon when I transport a ninety-eight-year-old lady to her club!
If I am lucky I even get the chance to play bingo with them when I go to collect her for the journey home. I am pleased to say that they don’t play for money otherwise I would be well and truly out of pocket!
Four Towns are always looking for more voluntary drivers and you can give as much or as little time as you wish to them. At present I do three days a week as this works in well with my school run commitments but sometimes I have to change my days
and need to let the office know in plenty of time.
I really enjoy driving, meeting a variety of people and sharing their stories. I feel that I am making a difference to quite a few people’s lives and helping them with their transport needs in an area where public transport is not always available or affordable.
Tim Black. Volunteer Driver-Four Towns and Vale Link
Hi, I’m Tim, and a relatively new volunteer driver on the team.
I decided to join 4-Towns & Vale Link after being lucky enough to take early retirement in summer of 2016. I was looking forward to my free time, but also wanted a little bit of structure and routine, without the hassle of going into full employment.
So I arranged an informal conversation with Joy at their offices, and she explained the whole operational set-up and logistic, and immediately was lucky enough to accompany Dennis on a shopper’s collection trip. I was HOOKED!!
Joy then helped me obtain my DBS clearance, and the MIDAS training qualification with Paul, all the organization for this was smoothly set-up.
I now volunteer for approx. 2 days a week (maybe more in the Winter and less in Summer), and I simply liaise with Bev in the office and I let her know any extra days I can do, (or if I have other private commitments where I am unavailable), and she informs me the day before of my route and pick-up schedule.
All the process and logistics run smoothly for this, and I’m sure this is due to a great bunch of folks in their offices, the environment there is always friendly and welcoming for a cup of coffee and biscuit.
I’ve been a volunteer driver now for only a few months, but looking forward to helping them out for a long time yet. I find donating my time a very rewarding aspect of my life, and I am proud to pay something back to my local community.