• Volunteers’ Week 2024 – Our Members Share their Stories

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    • Volunteers’ Week 2024 – Our Members Share their Stories

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    Volunteers keep the wheels turning on Community Transport! Whether they’re driving minibuses or cars or being travel buddies, we know how much they mean to our sector and your communities.

    That’s why, during Volunteers’ Week, we’re excited to showcase a selection of the brilliant volunteer stories sent in by our members. Below, you’ll find inspiring tales from across our network, highlighting the diverse and impactful ways Community Transport volunteers contribute to our communities.

    You can see all the volunteer stories sent to us this week on our social media channels X (Twitter), Facebook, and LinkedIn. These stories celebrate the dedication and spirit of our volunteers and offer a glimpse into the vital work they do.

    If you’d like to discuss Volunteer retention and recruitment with other CT organisations, join our next Community Building Session. This member-exclusive, peer-to-peer network is the perfect place to exchange ideas and learn from the experiences of others in the field. Join us and be part of the conversation!

    Bruce Lorimer's Volunteer Story

    Bruce’s Volunteer Story

    Sent to us by Jacqueline Gallacher from Larkhill and District Volunteer Group

    Bruce Lorimer joined our LDVG team of volunteer drivers when he moved to Larkhall a few years ago. Bruce was semi-retired and looking to get involved in the community.

    Bruce is incredibly passionate about his role and has proven to be a valued volunteer. His contribution and time are invaluable to our organisation. He’s more like our “Bus Lightyear,” with limitless possibilities—from driving our community groups on outings and assisting with the maintenance of our fleet of buses, to covering as caretaker for the building at the drop of a hat. Nothing is too much for him.

    When we have weekend hires and the building is closed, Bruce will come up to the office to check the bus back in, ensuring there are no issues and that it’s returned in the condition it should be.

    Bruce has many years of experience on the road and knows all the detours and shortcuts, which has helped him get many a hire to their destination safely and on time.

    I honestly do not know what we would do without Bruce (and all our volunteer drivers and escorts); they are priceless.

    On top of all the help and assistance he provides for us, he himself admits that he is thoroughly enjoying himself. He has made so many new friends within LDVG and feels he is doing something extremely useful in the community.

    Gary Rogers quote about his volunteering experience

    Gary’s Volunteering Story

    Sent to us by Hildegarde Roberts from Gower Community Transport

    I read the local paper around 10-12 years ago where I saw a little advert for voluntary drivers or people with a few spare hours free time. So, I rang the number and had an interview with Mrs. H. Roberts. She asked why I had the time as I’m my wife’s carer, but as I explained, you need some free time from each other. So, I started the following Monday, and I’ve never met so many people that need to go anywhere: doctor’s appointments, diabetic treatments, wound care, and podiatry treatments.

    During the pandemic, I worked every day, sometimes on the weekends, as people had to have COVID tests three days before hospital treatment or operations. They were sending people who couldn’t walk to COVID sites that you had to walk over a mile to get a jab, then walk back.

    Myself, I’ve got a total of 118 clients on my phone as our office was closed during the pandemic, so I kept in daily contact with H. Roberts. My youngest client is 51, my eldest 92. I enjoy meeting and helping people. It is one of the best things I’ve done since having to finish work, and I’ve met some really nice people, some whom appreciate the service.

    The Together Trusts’ Volunteer Team’s Story

    Sent to us by Claire Jenkins, Volunteer Service Manager at the The Together Trust

    The Together Trust’s Volunteer Driver Team plays a crucial role in transporting vulnerable children and young people to important destinations such as school, work experience, sports tournaments, and educational trips. They also collect essential donations.

    From January to March 2024, ten dedicated drivers completed 131 journeys. In January alone, one volunteer collected 156 boxes of donated goods!

    Their kindness, empathy, and humour help passengers, who often struggle with new people, feel reassured and look forward to their journeys. For students with disabilities, the Volunteer Drivers reduce anxieties related to public transport, making a significant difference in their lives.

    This team enables autistic children to access the wider community, fostering independence and social skills while also serving as positive role models. Despite being asked to complete one journey per week, many volunteers exceed this, with some making 8-10 journeys.

    Eileen Bailey shares her volunteering experience

    Eileen’s Volunteering Story

    Sent to us by Sue Peck, at Stockport Car Scheme

    Stockport Car Scheme is a registered charity established in 2001. Our volunteer drivers assist individuals who would struggle to use public transport, taking them to social groups, shopping, medical appointments, etc., to help them maintain independence and social inclusion. Eileen Bailey has volunteered with us since 2001. She initially joined us to help run groups when we were known as Stockport Care Schemes, aiding the charity’s development and growth. Eileen then became a volunteer driver using her own car while continuing to run groups and also joined our management committee.

    She took a short break due to a health issue but was soon back driving for us and has become a favourite among many of our clients, who consider her a friend.

    Eileen is always eager to support the Car Scheme, giving her time selflessly and attending our various volunteer events and training courses. She also supports other charities and cares for her disabled daughter.

    Eileen approaches her volunteer role with a great attitude and is willing to go anywhere and help anyone; nothing is too much trouble for her. She will venture into the heart of Manchester City Centre to assist a client in getting a new wig, and she helps us early in the morning or later in the day, navigating through rush-hour traffic without hesitation. She is a true asset to our organisation.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Eileen was instrumental in transporting clients to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. She volunteered from early morning into the evening, taking numerous people each day to help us emerge from lockdown.

    We believe she deserves to have her story shared. She is our longest-serving volunteer and supports us tirelessly, always with a positive attitude. She has witnessed many changes in our organisation and has adapted to them with ease and enthusiasm.

    Bryan Martin's volunteer story

    Bryan’s Volunteering Story

    Sent to us by Ava Harding from CTSussex

    Bryan joined the CTSussex Travel Buddy Scheme in April 2023, having previously volunteered with Horsham Befriend. After induction and training, he was introduced to a person who had become socially isolated due to anxieties about going out alone. Even though they lived outside Horsham District, in Mid Sussex, he committed to regularly taking them shopping and out for coffee. This has immensely improved their overall happiness. He also committed to supporting another individual in Horsham, visiting regularly and providing them with confidence and security.

    Unfortunately, he became unwell and had to undergo hip surgery, which resulted in a long and complicated recovery. Throughout this time, he kept in touch with his clients, regularly asking about their wellbeing.

    As soon as he could drive again, he restarted his visits with the person in Mid Sussex and continued to support them. His other client now has another travel buddy.

    This volunteer has made an outstanding contribution with his volunteering, and we would love to celebrate his efforts.

    Jonathan Knight's volunteer story

    Jonathan’s Volunteering Story

    Sent to us by Steve Marsh, Manager at Scarborough Dial a Ride

    Jonathan is one of our many valued volunteers at Scarborough Dial a Ride, without whom we would not be able to help hundreds of people each year maintain their independence by going shopping, visiting friends or relatives, going to church, day centres, restaurants, leisure pursuits, and health-related appointments.

    Jonathan has been volunteering with us for 11 years and is a great advocate for our service – helping not only by driving our minibuses each week but also spreading the word about what we do at every opportunity.

    Jonathan’s Volunteering experience, in his own words

    Over the last 40 years, I was fortunate to have had a busy and enjoyable international career in catering and hospitality, which had taken me and my family to several exciting places around the world. Retirement eventually beckoned and we resettled in Scarborough, where years before my wife had been a pupil at the Scarborough Convent and her father was a bursar at Scarborough College- it was a familiar and attractive place.

    I soon realised I couldn’t sit still, and I wanted to find something worthwhile to keep me busy. A feature in the local paper about the exploits of Scarborough Dial a Ride, and their need for more volunteers seemed to be worth exploring further. A little over 10 years ago, I drove my first Dial a Ride bus, met my fellow staff and volunteers, and picked up my first passenger. I feel I couldn’t have chosen a better cause or found a better use of my time.

    It is evident that the service provided by Dial a Ride is a real lifeline to many of our passengers- be it a trip to the shops, meeting for a coffee with friends, or attending a long awaited hospital appointment, the service is secure, reliable, economical and very importantly, friendly…for many passengers, the trip out with a Dial a Ride team can be their main social interaction of the week- it’s not just a community transport service, it’s also an informal welfare and support service, much welcomed by many of our users. From my point of view the satisfaction I get from being involved is instant: our customers are rarely slow to provide opinions about our services!!

    In addition to the pleasure I get from providing a service which is much needed and appreciated by customers, there is also the enjoyment and fun I get from working with the Dial a Ride staff and other volunteers. We are a very mixed bunch of folk, and the banter and opinions exchanged in the crew room adds another welcome dimension to the voluntary day.

    I try to drive for Dial a Ride one day a week, and I can safely say that generally, it’s the most satisfying day I have each week, and the rest of the week is pretty good, too! Like any business supported heavily by volunteers, Dial a Ride needs more volunteers, so we can continue to provide these much needed services to a growing group of passengers. If you’re considering finding a voluntary role, give it a try – it’s truly rewarding, and the feedback is instant.

    If you’d like to discuss Volunteer retention and recruitment with other CT organisations, join our next Community Building Session, our member-exclusive peer-to-peer network.

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