Volunteer drivers make an enormous and important contribution to transport in Hampshire, helping thousands of people each year to make a wide variety of journeys. They often operate as members of an organisation such as a Voluntary Care Group or Car Scheme, which co-ordinates activities locally and acts as a first port of call in a local community.
Typically they may help people who face difficulties in accessing services such as health facilities, although many groups also take people shopping or to social clubs and activities.
Volunteer drivers donate as much or as little of their time as they feel able and often use their own cars, for which they are paid a mileage allowance and are reimbursed for expenses they incur such as parking. The variety of tasks and the chance to meet and help people in the local community means that many drivers find it both interesting and rewarding.
Hampshire County Council recognises the tremendous contribution that volunteer drivers and voluntary car schemes make throughout the county, and offer a range of resources and advice to support their activities. Working closely with the Good Neighbours Support Service (formally, Hampshire Voluntary Care Groups Advisory Service) we have developed a Resource Pack for Car Schemes, designed to provide detailed useful information, as well as recruitment and promotion materials, lists of useful contacts, and a series of Good Practice Guidelines.
We have also negotiated free parking at hospitals in Hampshire for volunteer drivers who display a Car Scheme parking permit after it emerged that this was a major part of their activities, and over the years this has proven itself to be a valuable part of the support offered. A Hospital Parking Guide supports this and provides detailed information on each individual hospital site. Any of these publications and resources are available on request from the Community Transport team.
Of course Voluntary Care Groups and Car Schemes can only offer these activities if they have the volunteer drivers to provide them, and they are always keen to gain new recruits. If you feel that you are able and would like to help in your community, you can find out about local schemes by contacting your local Council of Voluntary Service or Volunteer Bureau, Good Neighbours Support Service, or Hampshire County Council’s Community Transport Team. Contact details for all of these are listed below.
Good Neighbours Support Service
Hampshire County Council's Community Transport Team
Telephone: 01962 846785