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Volunteer drivers wanted

Do you want to give something back to your community and help patients where you live? Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is looking for more volunteers to sign up to its Hospital Car Service, which plays an essential role in supporting patients who have routine NHS appointments.

The Trust already has around 25 volunteer car-drivers across Torbay and South Devon who take patients with mobility problems to and from hospital and treatment centres. However, the Trust is looking for 15 additional volunteer drivers to joi​​n its ranks.

Jacky Hall, control team leader in the Trust’s transport department, said: “The volunteer car service plays an essential role in providing patient care, and we are always seeking new recruits.

“Many patients will be travelling to hospital for the first time in many years, whereas others will make regular journeys. It can be stressful for the patient, irrespective of the number of times they visit hospital, so a friendly face and understanding attitude will always put them at ease.”

Prospective volunteers will need to pass an enhanced disclosure and barring service check (DBS), be in good health, hold a clean driving licence and have a safe, clean and reliable four-door vehicle. Volunteers are not paid for their time, but do receive an allowance to compensate for driving expenses.

Michael Hughes, a volunteer hospital service car driver in Torbay and South Devon for more than 11 years, said: “I thoroughly enjoy volunteering for the Hospital Car Service, as being a volunteer enables me to give something back to the community and help those who are in a time of need.

“I would say that qualities needed to be a part of the car service include being flexible, compassionate, being able to listen to people as well as be discreet. I get a huge sense of fulfilment in this role by ensuring people reach their appointment on time but also just being able to talk to them.

“In my time I have heard numerous heart-breaking but also heart-warming stories, and often people just need a friendly face and someone to talk to on the way to their appointment, as it helps to alleviate anxieties and apprehension they may be feeling.”

Any volunteers need to be aged 18-69 and must be able to commit to volunteering at least two full days a week, including evenings and weekends. Training will be provided to support this role, so no experience is necessary.

If you think you can help as a volunteer hospital car service driver, or want further information, please contact Jacky Hall on 01803 656796 or click here​.