After the recent Health Board announcement that it will be starting its autumn vaccination programme for Covid boosters and flu jabs across Gwent, a Monmouthshire-based Volunteer Car Scheme is making a plea for more volunteer drivers to get involved.
Bridges Community Car Scheme, who have been providing transport for people who face barriers to accessing public transport or taxis since 2011, have been instrumental in helping isolated or vulnerable residents attend their vaccination appointments throughout the Pandemic.
“Our scheme is run on volunteer-power,” says Deb Bennett, Lead Coordinator. “We currently have 40 drivers involved, but we know that when the vaccination programmes are rolled out we have a significant spike in demand. With the recent announcement that autumn boosters for Covid and Flu are commencing we would love to have as many volunteers as possible join us to help get people in their communities to these vital appointments.
“All our volunteer drivers only take journeys when it is convenient for them so we can utilise however much or little time volunteers are willing to give. Fuel costs are reimbursed so no volunteer is financially out of pocket and helping someone who would not otherwise be able to get where they need to go is hugely rewarding.”
It’s a service that is needed for many reasons, not necessarily because people have health or mobility issues, as volunteer driver, Steve from Chepstow highlights. “With the lack of rural transport there is a definite need for this type of service and passengers benefit from a door to door service that goes that extra mile. We give assistance from their door, wait for them while they are at their appointments and see them safely home again.
“I meet some really wonderful people, who often have an interesting tale to tell. I wanted a volunteering role that connected me with people and driving with Bridges Community Car Scheme has fulfilled that need.”