Over nine million people in the UK – more than the population of London – report that they are always or often lonely (source: British Red Cross). With the campaign to end loneliness that took place in December, we caught up with Dave who volunteers for the NHCVS Community Transport Scheme to learn about how his volunteering makes a different to the local community.
I have been volunteering for the NHCVS Community Transport Scheme for over two years now. My neighbour used to volunteer for them and suggested it to me, as he knew I was getting bored being at home all the time. We use our own cars to transport less able people to their healthcare appointments, day centres and for leisure, sports and social visits. The scheme covers the North Herts and Stevenage area, however I mostly drive in North Herts.
To be honest, I didn’t want to become a couch potato! Mostly I was sitting at home, not doing much and wanted to be out and about, meeting new people. My neighbour unfortunately had to give it up as his wife became poorly, but suggested it to me and I thought I would give at a go. There was nothing to lose.
I also come from a family which has mostly been in the nursing profession and have always felt it would be nice to help people who aren’t as able bodied themselves.
I like that I am helping people, who are sadly unable to get out by themselves. As well as being able to get to the doctors, it’s just the little things. Being able to go out to the shop to collect a prescription or to the bank can make a big difference to them, otherwise they would also be sat at home all day, not getting out or meeting people.
I also get to meet new people and enjoy the witty banter I have with clients. I think we offer a marvellous service and it’s a shame not everyone knows about it. I only hope it is still around with plenty of volunteers when I am older and need help getting to places.
Why not? I’m not doing anything myself, I might as well help. I took him last year and he was really appreciative. I believe he used to go there when he was younger, so it’s nice that he will still be able to go and reminisce. We will leave early, stop on the way for a cup of tea and a bite to eat. After I drop him off I’ll be home in time for dinner.
Go for it! If you have the time and enjoy being around other people then why not. I am always kept quite busy as I have a wheelchair adapted vehicle, but I don’t mind that. Volunteering at the transport scheme is flexible, it’s up to you when you want to volunteer. It’s your choice.
If you are interested to find out more about volunteering with the NHCVS Community Transport scheme visit their website.