Driven to volunteer – David’s story

Volunteers provide so much support to local patients and service users, so we have taken this opportunity to meet with David who became a voluntary driver when he retired nearly 10 years ago.

David loves being a voluntary driver and said it is a brilliant, rewarding job that makes him feel happy. David explained that the job is flexible and it has given him a purpose and much enjoyment through meeting people.

Apart from a break to receive successful cancer treatment, David has provided more than 3,000 trips for Swale residents as a voluntary driver for Swale Council for Voluntary Services (CVS).

Destinations vary and could be related to anything from attending medical appointments, supermarkets or visiting family. The passengers really appreciate the help and regulars have even requested ‘Dave the hat’ to be their driver.

David added that being a voluntary driver has been such a positive experience and he would encourage people to take it up.  At 76 years of age, David is going strong and he feels amazing.

Volunteer drivers are urgently needed across Swale with a particular high demand on the Isle of Sheppey. This is a flexible opportunity where volunteers can volunteer their time as little or as much as they wish.

The first step in the volunteer process is to arrange to meet with the Swale CVS Transport Co-ordinator, Louise Parpworth, who will talk through the role and answer any questions.  At this stage, volunteers need to provide their driving licence, copy of their insurance details and MOT, if needed.

Voluntary drivers do have to use their own vehicles but mileage expenses are paid at 45p per mile. Drivers are expected to have a clean driving licence, provide two referees and Swale CVS would also arrange for an enhanced DBS check to be undertaken, which is free of charge. There are no age restrictions to become a volunteer driver but driving for the volunteer transport scheme does need to be verified by the relevant insurance company.

The scheme covers the whole of Swale and there are currently 54 drivers – 34 in Sittingbourne, 16 on the Isle of Sheppey and 6 in Faversham.  This is a very busy scheme, one of the largest in Kent, and currently there are 1,152 clients – with approximately 2,100 trips being taken each month which equates to 25,800 per year. Trips include travel from hospitals, doctors to hairdressers and shopping although the medical appointments always take priority. The scheme covers a wide range of hospitals from those in Kent to East Grinstead and London.

You can get in touch with Louise Parpworth on 01795 473828 or email louise.parpworth@swalecvs.co.uk