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Hampshire needs more volunteer drivers

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Hampshire's drivers are being encouraged to volunteer to help local residents to get around.

Hampshire County Council, in partnership with the Hampshire Volunteer Centre Network, Hampshire Council's for Voluntary Service Network and the Good Neighbours Support Service, is looking for more volunteer drivers for community and voluntary transport schemes across Hampshire.

The campaign has been going since September 2012 and has had several successes already, including targeting drivers stopping for a refuel and break at Hampshire's motorway service areas which produced a 43% increase in new enquiries. The campaign follows a survey last year that found that about 50 per cent of community groups did not have enough drivers for the transport schemes they ran.

Two of the latest recruits are Dave Burgess and Karolina Rickard who have recently started driving for Botley Neighbourcare, a voluntary car scheme that helps people get to hospital and to their GP.

Dave said: "I started volunteering as I enjoy driving, so I am happy to take someone to a hospital appointment. Helping others out and giving back to the local community is hugely satisfying and a boost to my self esteem."

Karolina said: "I always wanted to give something back to the community. It's a great feeling to help somebody. I know enough time in advance so I can plan my volunteering around my day-to-day life."

Cllr Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council said: "We are very lucky in Hampshire to have so many active community transport schemes but they are always looking for new volunteer drivers. The help provided by these fantastic volunteers is often a lifeline to people, especially in rural areas, and helps them access health services, go to the shops or visit friends and relatives.

"Hampshire County Council provides a lot of help and support to encourage people to step up and offer some of their free time to help older and vulnerable people get around. Volunteering is a worthwhile way to help create the type of community you want to live in, and is also a great way to meet new people and stay active."

Anyone interested in finding out about becoming a volunteer driver can read more details online or contact the Hampshire Volunteer Centre Network on 0844 499 4088.

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